OEMs keen to secure partnerships as PTC fears accelerate projects

The table plots frequency of survey response to $/kWh.

With the on-going uncertainty over the production tax credit (PTC) extension, many factors are indicating that the American wind-manufacturing industry is picking up speed to cope with a rush of orders in 2012. In 2011, an additional 31% of wind capacity was installed compared to 2010, totaling a massive 1.6 GW.

This significant increase in project commissioning has widely been attributed to the uncertainty surrounding the PTC extension, a topic being hotly debated throughout the industry and government.

The PTC, worth $0.022/kWh for a project’s first ten years of operation is a key driver in the continued planning and commissioning of wind installations. It is also widely considered responsible for the creation of thousands of jobs throughout the renewable energy sector, and its expiration will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on the future renewable power industries.

However, the fear of the PTC expiring is having the reverse effect on manufacturing companies. With the looming danger of commissioning projects without a tax incentive, developers are looking to fast-track projects to commissioning stage, which is having the follow-on effect of pushing manufacturers’ capacity to the limit.

This increase in competition has resulted in turbine manufacturers seeking the best possible terms of collaboration with a supplier, often in a strategic mid-term partnership.

A forum that both client and customer have used for the last two years to secure such partnerships has been Wind Energy Update’s wind turbine manufacturing and supply chain conference, taking place on March 28 and 29, 2012, Chicago. With the state of the PTC, this year is widely seen to have greater importance. Several OEMs will attend along with representatives of the DoE to elaborate on the kind of support that the industry can hope to expect in 2012 and beyond.

Wind Energy Update

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