via Ørsted A/S

Denmark - Wind-Turbine Makers See Hope in Climate, Recovery Plans After 2020 Disruption

A year of coronavirus-related disruption and corporate restructurings in 2020 has changed the landscape for wind turbine manufacturing.

The pandemic has been challenging for a sector heavily reliant on functioning international supply chains, but manufacturers were able to largely shake off the disruption of the initial lockdowns earlier in the year. More recently, ramped-up renewables targets and green recovery plans across Europe have brightened the long-term outlook.

"Onshore [wind] has maybe lost a little bit of volume, but offshore has lost very little progress," with contractors increasing spending on safety measures to ensure delivery of the valuable offshore contracts, said Andy Strowbridge, associate director at advisory firm BVG Associates.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA experienced supply chain turbulence and cost overruns in 2020 and, after a profit warning in the spring, cut ties with CEO Markus Tacke, with Andreas Nauen replacing him. Earlier in the year, the manufacturer snapped up rival Senvion SA's intellectual property and European wind farm servicing business. In September 2020, the group was moved under the umbrella of newly spun out Siemens Energy AG.

Siemens Gamesa also took the lead in the race for scale in the offshore turbine segment in 2020, announcing a 14-MW machine that will become available by 2023. Until that turbine is rolled out, General Electric Co.'s GE Renewable Energy unit will be the leader in terms of scale in the offshore space, with first delivery of its 12-MW Haliade-X turbine set to begin this year.

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