INDIANAPOLIS — U.S. wind turbine manufacturers with large, experienced European parents are seeking long-term partnerships with American suppliers to provide turbine components“The supply chain is not a mature industry here,” said Gene Cuenot,
vice president of global purchasing and supply chain for Vestas
Nacelles Americas. “There are far more mature suppliers in Europe.”
Cuenot, whose office is in Chicago, spoke at the second annual WIndiana conference this week.
A Danish company, Vestas is building a supply chain in the United States to avoid having to import turbines here from Europe.
“We buy metal commodities,” Cuenot said.
turbine components include rotors, shafts, gear boxes, brakes, motors,
fiberglass blades, steel towers, bearings, pumps, weldings, castings,
transformers, sheet metal, hydraulics, pumps, plastics, wires and
Vestas is seeking dual or multiple suppliers for the various components because of explosive growth in the wind energy industry.
U.S. wind energy industry installed more than 8,300 megawatts in 2008,
expanding the nation’s total wind-power generating capacity by 50
percent and surpassing Germany as the world’s largest producer of wind
the U.S. still derives only two percent of its electricity from wind,
while Denmark obtains 20 percent of its electricity from wind.
anyone would import things of this size and weight is a mystery to me,”
Gov. Mitch Daniels said during the two-day conference.
components, like the steel towers, are relatively easy to make, while
others require fine machining and are as difficult to make as submarine
parts, said Marguerite Kelly, a senior project manager at the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory.
typical wind farm requires hundreds of thousands of tons of aggregate
and tens of thousands of cubic yards of concrete — all purchased
locally — for foundations, access roads and other construction needs,
said Ryan Brown of Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy, whose parent is a
Viehweider, managing director of VAT Getriebetechnik, based in Germany,
spoke on supply chain basics during the conference attended by more
than 600 people.
and VAT-Service are starting up new businesses in Delaware County to
service wind turbines and manufacture solar/wind-powered street lights
and wind turbines.
An Italian company, Brevini, is locating a wind-turbine gearbox manufacturing plant in Delaware County.
Brevini’s Jacopo Tozzi spoke about supply chain nuts and bolts during the conference.
The governor said Indiana was honored that Brevini and VAT chose Delaware County.
Indiana’s low cost of doing business, including low taxes, and its
pro-business climate, “we hope to be a premier home for this industry,”
state’s utility regulatory commission, department of environmental
management and office of energy development are “here for you,” Lt.
Gov. Becky Skillman told representatives of the wind industry.