Credit Crunch Helps Wind Turbines Catch Up

John Davis

It’s kind of a good news/bad news thing.

One the one hand, the wait to get wind turbines seems to be easing. But as this article from Greentech Media says, the credit crunch is helping ease that backlog:

“Turbines are available now, which is refreshing,” said Brad Johnson, director of business development at John Deere Renewables, on Thursday. “Before the credit crisis, it was very difficult to get turbines. We are finding a variety of choices.”

Johnson’s comment comes a day after one of the world’s largest wind turbine makers, Gamesa, said it would shut production at some of its factories temporarily, Reuters reported. Gamesa managers said they are waiting for customers to confirm their purchase plans before providing specific sales or production targets for 2009 and beyond.

It wasn’t so long ago when wind farm developers had to scramble to find turbines for their projects. Vestas Wind Systems in Denmark, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, said earlier this year that it had a huge backlog of turbine orders.

The turbine shortage has fueled aggressive efforts by turbine parts makers to increase production. In fact, eight new turbine components factories went online in the United States this year while nine manufacturing centers expanded their production capacity, said the American Wind Energy Association on Wednesday. Nineteen more new factory projects have been announced, the association said.

But the credit crunch and faltering economy are sending a cold breeze through the wind industry, which typically borrows money from banks and other investors to build wind farms.

Another bit of good news is, American wind power production is on track for another record year… and is expected to do even better next year. Sooner or later, the credit crisis will pass as the finance industry jumps back into the wind energy game.