Enercon choses Galicia over China

While the leading wind turbine manufacturers are reducing capacity in Spain – Vestas and Gamesa – the German manufacturer, Enercon, which is the third largest in the world (8.5% market share), recently presented a business plan linked to a recent Galician wind power auction that would involve an outlay of €40 million.

In doing so, Enercon places Galicia, a region in north western Spain, ahead of the United States and China – markets into which the company currently has no plans to enter.

Galicia is the Spanish "highlight" for the coming years, says Juan Ruiz Jarabo, CEO of Enercon Spain, because it is here, adds Stefan Lütkemeyer (Enercon’s International Sales Director), that the German company expects to be awarded "a significant percentage" of the 2,300 MW of capacity that Galicia has put out to tender.

Apart from the megawatts that the German company expects to be allocated, Ruiz Jarabo also claims that Enercon has already signed agreements to roll out its industrial plan. Specifically, it has obtained an option to purchase a 100,000 square metre plot of land on a new industrial estate in the municipality of Outes (Noia, Coruña). This centre will be connected by sea with Enercon’s Portuguese industrial complex (Viana do Castelo), which manufactures generators, towers and blades.

If Enercon is to invest 100% of the €40 million it considers necessary to implement its Galician industry plan – which would represent 25% of the worldwide investments the company plans to make over the next five years – the German manufacturer must come out of the bidding process with contracts totalling “at least 900 MW”, says Ruiz. The minimum to implement part of the plan, if anything, would be around 400 MW, reveals Lütkemeyer, who adds that the industrial complex would export to other Mediterranean countries and Portugal, "ensuring a stable and enduring activity over time”. Enercon's plan is mainly associated with bids that identify the German technologist as a supplier, although the company also hopes to win tenders for projects where no technologist has yet been defined, says Ruiz.

Enercon’s Galician plan – which would generate 250 jobs – includes the construction of an aluminium nacelle factory for three-megawatt machines, and the construction of a factory for steel components, including many machined parts, the sections that attach the nacelle to the tower, and completion of structural parts for the generator. The plan also includes training a team of professionals, and building up wind farm assembly, control, and operation and maintenance activities.

Ruiz Jarabo has revealed that 85% of the plan would be implemented in the first two years (2011 and 2012), and that as well direct jobs, the plan will also forge relations with the Galician metal industry. Plans of this size are “what Spain and Galicia need,” says Ruiz. “Immediate plans are needed to reactivate the economy and create jobs. In other words, tangible and solid plans for now, not five years from now,” adds the CEO of Enercon Spain.

Underlining Enercon’s penchant for going against the grain, Lütkemeyer stresses that the company has no plans to enter either the US or China; the two most active markets in the global sector, and that is does not want anything to do with the great hope for the future of the sector: offshore.

Outside Europe, and always onshore, Enercon’s main markets are Latin America, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Taiwan and India. In the Canadian wind power auction in 2008, Enercon was awarded 1,050 MW, to be installed between 2011 and 2014. Likewise, in Brazil, it has won 600 MW in auctions that have taken place there over the last twelve months. However, "we still have a lot of market onshore, accessible, close to home, and in Europe," says Lütkemeyer. The European Union’s mandatory target of 20% renewables by 2020 will mean 210 GW of wind capacity will need to be installed compared to 73 GW at the end of 2009, he explains.

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