Wednesday, January 4, 2012

patentECO - Windustry Update

The Windustry, the global wind power industry, is reporting a slowdown.

Jonathan Buck, who writes the European Trader column in Barron's reports that Vestas Wind Systems (symbol VWS.Denmark) has dropped more than 60% because the wind-energy market isn't growing as fast as it had been.

Vestas Wind Systems started the year trading at over $186.00 per share but closed on Friday at $59.50.

On November 9th the firm announced its 2015 targets will be abandoned as the wind turbines maker posted a third quarter net loss noting that renewable energy is still heavily dependent on state-backed subsidies and as European leaders are dealing with mounting debt and fiscal issues, the industry faces a tough future.

Vestas also lowered expectations for 2012 and 2013 due to the potential expiration of production tax credits in the US at the end of 2012.

In November Vestas announced that it received orders for delivery of a total of 77 wind turbines  to two US wind farm projects.  The turbines will be installed at Palouse Wind Project and Bull Hill wind power plant located in Whitham county, Washington and Hancock, Maine respectively.  In December 2011, the firm also received an order for installation of 32 wind turbines in Sweden.  While the industry continues to get orders the pace is slowing down.

According the the American Wind Energy Association, 85,000 Americans are currently employed in the wind power industry and related fields.   The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics page on Wind Energy has a two year old map (circa 2009) that shows where the major players in the windustry are located and provides a nice chart of the wind energy supply chain and an overview how wind projects work complete with a table listing the types of jobs found in the industry.  Oddly, at this writing, the first image on the page is a solar farm.  the same page shares some cross departmental information from a 2008 report the Department of Energy that says that, "it may be feasible for wind power to provide 20% of U.S. electricity needs by the year 2030."  Perhaps its time for the US government's windustry gurus to talk with the leading providers of wind turbine technology and get their projections in sync.