* Presents prototype of 8 MW V164 design
* Aims to be among top two offshore players by 2020
* Offshore key challenge for new CEO Runevad
By Teis Jensen
ODENSE, Denmark, Aug 29 Danish wind turbine
maker Vestas is banking on a more powerful design to
become a leading player in the offshore market where it has
lagged competitors like Germany's Siemens.
"We want to be a strong top-two player in the offshore
market by 2020," Vestas Offshore Senior Vice President Uffe
Vinther-Schou told reporters at a site near Odense where the
prototype V164 turbine is 90 percent complete.
Supplying turbines offshore, where noise and visual
pollution face less public resistance, is seen as a major growth
area and a key challenge for new CEO Anders Runevad.
Under his predecessor Ditlev Engel, Vestas issued five
profit warnings as it struggled with overcapacity and falling
The new turbine will have power output of 8 megawatts (MW),
dwarfing Siemens' 6 MW offshore turbine which has been a popular
choice in recent offshore tenders. Vestas' biggest offshore
turbine currently has capacity of 3.3 MW.
"The V164 will be a game-changer," Vinther-Schou said.
Vinther-Schou said Vestas is still interested in getting a
partner in the offshore segment but said the company will get
the V164 to market even without collaboration.
Vestas said last year it was in talks with Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries from Japan but no partnership has been
Chief Technology Officer Anders Vedel said there had been no
major problems with the prototype and he still expected it to be
installed in the first quarter of 2014.
"Vestas needs a lever to get into the offshore market and
the V164 could serve that purpose," analyst Michael Friis
Jorgensen from Alm. Brand Markets told Reuters.
Vestas - the world's second-largest wind turbine maker after
American GE - has fallen behind offshore competitors
because it has been focusing on its financial problems, analyst
Jacob Pedersen from Sydbank said.
He believes the V164 turbine will be ready for an expected
pick-up in the offshore market in 2015-16. The market is now at
a standstill due to regulatory issues in the main markets
Germany and the U.K.
Out of 44,799 MW of new wind power capacity installed
globally in 2012, only 1,295 MW was offshore, mainly in the
U.K., according to Global Wind Energy Council.
This year more than 1,000 MW has already been installed in
Europe, according to Vestas.
REpower, the German arm of India's Suzlon, and
France's Areva are also competing in the offshore
Vinther-Schou said that the offshore market is too small to
justify more than five players. "We believe there will be
consolidation and even exits from the market," he said.