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Financial markets register Vestas decline

January 14, 2012

The Wall Street Journal is taking notice of the declining wind turbine industry where “wind companies … have seen the price of turbines fall by 20% over four years” because of many factors, including Chinese competition. Vestas, the Danish manufacturer of turbines like those in Falmouth, has been blown off course according to Andrew Peaple.  Shaking up management and laying off 10% of its workforce is Vestas’ response to the decline of governments’ incentives for industrial wind. “Vestas’s shares fell 7% this week and have now lost 90% of their value since mid-2008.”

Vestas was in the news in December when a letter from CEO Ditlev Engel became public. He was arguing against new noise regulations proposed for Denmark. The effect on demand for his product would be low, he said, but he continued,

By means of its high wind penetration, 24% in 2010 – still a world record – Denmark has a role as a forerunner country and a full scale laboratory for conversion to renewable energy.

This means that other countries often look to Denmark when adjusting their legislation regarding wind energy. We are therefore concerned – justifiably so as history shows – that the proposed Danish regulations for low frequency noise from wind turbines will spread to a large number of other markets with much higher commercial impact for Vestas and consequently for employment in the business.

Between the growing concern about health effects from turbine audible and sub-audible noise and the outcry against excessively generous subsidies for turbine development, more news of decline in industrial wind may be in the offing.

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