Amid debates on cuts to wind-power funding, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) has announced the highest growth rate in installed turbine capacity in a decade. In 2013, just under three gigawatts (GW) were added to onshore turbine capacity – an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous year. The high demand brought turbine manufacturers a record number of orders. For example, Nordex recorded a surplus of EUR 1.3 million for the first time since 2010. And how do things look for operators? Despite having full order books, manufacturers managed to keep up the same high standard of maintenance and repair services of the previous years.
The six turbine manufacturers rated in the latest BWE service survey achieved an average score of 2.7 for service, just as they did in 2011 and 2012. Although Repower (now Senvion) and Vestas scored a quarter of a mark lower, GE Wind Energy and Siemens managed to improve their scores significantly. This overall constant performance level was not necessarily a given.
In the past, manufacturers often neglected their customer service during a boom period. The fact that this is no longer the case shows that good service has become an important business area for them. “Service allows manufacturers to document the quality of their products,” says Carlo Reeker, BWE’s deputy managing director.
Meanwhile, the euphoria surrounding independent service providers has died down, despite these fims’ consistently good marks. They were very popular in recent years because operators were sometimes extremely dissatisfied with manufacturers’ services.
This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 02/2014.
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