Wednesday, 26 June 2013

GE sees U.S. wind-turbine installs doubling next year after lull
8 May 2013

General Electric Co. (GE), the biggest U.S, supplier of wind turbines, expects domestic installations to double next year after the renewal of a tax credit boosts demand.

wind farm developers including NextEra Energy Resources Inc. (NEE) and Invenergy Wind LLC may install 3,000 MWs to 4,000 MWs of turbines in the U.S, this year and as much as 7,000 MWs next year, Anne McEntee, GE's vice president of renewable energy, said today in an interview.

The U.S, added a record 13,124 MWs of turbines last year, outpacing natural gas installations for the first time, as wind developers raced to complete projects ahead of the Dec. 31 expiration of the production tax credit. Denmark's Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) and Spain's Gamesa Corp Tecnologica SA (GAM) also expect new orders to pick up by the third quarter.

"The U.S, market is beginning to turn around", McEntee said at the Wind Power 2013 conference in Chicago. "Utilities see wind power as a hedge against rising fuel costs". The production tax credit for energy generated by renewable sources expired at the end of 2012 and was renewed for a year on Jan. 1.

GE has received orders this year for more than 1,000 MWs of wind turbines, including one from NextEra Energy Resources for 100.3 MWs announced today for a Michigan wind farm and Invenergy Wind's 215 MW deal announced last week for a project in Texas. Germany's Nordex SE (NDX1), which hasn't announced any sales in the U.S, this year, said the last-minute nature of the tax-credit extension stymied developers that might have placed orders by now.

Slow Utilities
"Utilities have acted slower than I predicted", Ralph Sigrist, chief executive officer of Nordex USA, said today on a panel at the conference. "They're taking their time".

Developers have more flexibility this year because they only need to begin construction by Dec. 31 to be eligible for the tax credits, said Borja Negro, chief executive officer of Gamesa Corp's U.S, unit. The previous version of the credit applied to projects that went into service before the deadline. It pays owners 2.3¢ per kW-hour.

"With the start-construction language we could see a U.S, market of up to eight GWs" of sales contracts signed this year, Negro said. "It could be more but unfortunately we're facing a lot of ups and downs".