MHI Vestas to Remain Focused on Europe’s Offshore Wind Market

  • Netherlands looks attractive with plans for 5-year wind bids
  • MHI Vestas closely watching policy announcements in U.S., Asia

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind A/S will keep its focus on the European offshore wind market while looking at emerging markets such as the U.S. as it seeks to solidify its position as a leading maker of turbines.

The company has won orders for 1.6 gigawatts of turbines since it began operating in April 2014, according to Jin Kato, co-chief executive officer of the venture between Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark. It has won another 800 megawatts in conditional orders or preferred supplier status.

“Europe remains MHI Vestas’ main market,” Kato said in an interview in Tokyo.

The orders are for projects off the U.K., Belgium, Denmark and Germany. The Netherlands is looking attractive, with the country’s five-year plan for tenders for 700 megawatts a year through 2019, Kato said.

Taiwan and the U.S. also have potential, Kato said, adding that the company is closely following policy announcements in those countries.

China is set to increase its installations of turbines in the ocean in a market dominated by European countries, according to estimates by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In 2020, China will add 5.2 gigawatts of installations, or about half of global installations that year, BNEF said in a February report on offshore wind.

MHI Vestas currently lacks the resources to enter the Chinese market, Kato said.

As for Japan, the weak target for offshore wind means manufacturers are having difficulty establishing sales targets, he said. According to estimates in a document released in July 2015 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan will have 820 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030.

More than 91 percent of all offshore wind was in Europe at the end of 2015, according to a report by the Global Wind Energy Council. Siemens is the lead supplier of offshore wind turbines in Europe, accounting for 63.5 percent of the market, followed by MHI Vestas at 18.5 percent.

MHI Vestas is set to supply 32 of its 8-megawatt turbines to the 258-megawatt Burbo Bank Extension project in the U.K.

“The industry is led by the two companies,” Kato said. “We’ve been around only for two years and Burbo Bank is not completed yet. So we want to lay the groundwork to solidify our position.”

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