In the media: Problems nag at Germany's biggest offshore windpark
“Standstill; Little movement in Germany’s largest offshore wind park”
Germany's largest offshore windpark, the 3-billion-euro “Bard Offshore 1” in the North Sea, remains beset with problems, costing as much as 2 million euros a day, according to an article in Die Welt. Ten months after its completion, the windpark is still not fully operable, with only some of its 80 turbines connected to the grid, network operator TenneT Strom told the newspaper. It has yet to reach its full, 400-megawatt capacity. Tests running since September still continue, with the aim of finding the source of the problems, a spokeswoman for Hypo-Vereinsbank, owner of the windpark operator Ocean Breeze, told the newspaper. Heavy seas damaged the park in March and since then, the park has encountered voltage instabilities and other problems.
Read the article in German here.
“Sinking revenues: SMA Solar cuts a third of its staff”
Hard hit by the slump in prices, German solar technology company SMA is cutting around a third of its global staff, considerably more than originally planned, the company said, according to Spiegel Online. Of 4,667 global staff, SMA will cut around 1,600 position, around 1,300 in Germany. The company expects further price pressure on the global photovoltaics market and continued declines in demand in Europe, Spiegel Online said. SMA does not expect to return to profitability this year, as most of the job cuts will take place in the second half of 2015, the newspaper said. Confoundingly, demand for solar technology is on the rise worldwide, but the German makers were forced to lower prices to economically unviable levels, when Chinese producers flooded the market with cheap solar panels, the newspaper said. This drove a number of businesses into the ground in recent years.
Read the article in German here.
Read the SMA media release here.
Senvion chief speaks on takeover by US investor
Supported by its new owner, US private equity firm Centerbridge, wind turbine maker Senvion aims to expand its business, adding jobs in the coming years, said Senvion chief Andreas Nauen in an interview in Die Welt. Nauen noted that Centerbridge’s investment included a large share of equity, demonstrating its commitment to the German medium-sized company. “The purchase of Senvion is a clear growth investment,” Nauen said. He pointed out that Senvion had increased revenues to 1.8 billion euros from 1.2 billion euros over the last two years, and that operating profit was 100 million euros in the fiscal year ended March 2014. Senvion is being sold to Centerbridge by its previous owner, the Indian company Suzlon, which had become highly indebted, according to Die Welt. One of the early pioneers of the Energiewende, Die Welt says, Senvion previously was called Repower Systems.
Read the interview in German here.
Energy generation hits bottom line in first quarter
Europe’s largest engineering group Siemens reported a 4 percent drop in profits in the first quarter of its business year to 1.8 billion euros, driven down by a steep decline in its health-care and energy generation divisions.
At the same time, Siemens profits in the wind and renewables business rose by 21 percent to 80 million euros in the first quarter, though large order volumes declined.
Read Bloomberg article on the results here.
Read Renews article on Siemens’ wind power business here.
Germany’s first and last states for wind power
A Green government has been in office in Baden-Württemberg since 2011, and still there is practically no wind market in the state, Craig Morris writes on Renewables International in a piece looking at public acceptance of the Energiewende. But its Environmental Minister promises that the pipeline is huge, he says. Meanwhile, a court in Schlweswig-Holstein says the government, which plans to have 300 percent renewables, is simultaneously taking too much account of citizens.
Read the article here.