Overcapacity and new low cost entries into market stymied wind turbine prices in 2011

The average price for utility-scale wind equipment hit a new low in the second half of 2011, dipping four percent due to excess capacity and the entry of new low-cost competitors to the sector, according to the latest Wind Turbine Price Index released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Overcapacity and new low cost entries into market stymied wind turbine prices in 2011

Contracts signed for wind turbines during the second half of 201l fell to €.91/MW ($1.21/MW), down four percent from six months earlier and well off their five year high of €1.21/MW ($1.59/MW) in 2009, Bloomberg said.

It's analysts found that prices dropped most sharply for older turbines to €.81/MW on average, down 10 percent from six months earlier.

While this might have been expected given that newer wind turbine models are more efficient and offer improved capacity factors, Bloomberg's team found that even the new prices have seen prices coming down.

What's more, this, the sixth issue of the Wind Turbine Price Index, found that prices fell in all parts of the world as Chinese manufacturers competed strongly for orders, even in developing markets such as Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Australia.

Not surprisingly, these developments led procurement officers and turbine manufactures to express generally negative outlooks on prices, with most anticipating further moderate declines in 2012 and 2013.

The majority told analysts they don’t expect prices to recover until at least 2014.

But Bloomberg nevertheless found reason for optimism -- lower equipment prices will ultimately make wind more competitive with fossil-fuelled forms of generation.

“Short-term pain among wind manufacturers is now undeniable and unavoidable," said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

"But the current price slump is good news on the demand side as wind is more competitive with coal and gas on a dollar-per-megawatt hour basis, which is vital given ever-lower levels of subsidy and support," he continued. "Those manufacturers which can achieve leading cost positions are going to be in a good strategic position when the market enters its next expansionary phase in a few years.”

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s analysis has previously shown that power generated by the world’s best new wind farms can achieve costs of 6.5 US cents per kWh, compared with the same per kWh for coal-fired power stations.

By 2016 the firm expects the median new wind farm worldwide to be competitive with coal-based power with no subsidies.

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