Nordex gets biggest Irish order for 42MW Bord Gais wind farm

Nordex has bagged its largest-ever order in the burgeoning Irish wind market, as the German turbine maker looks to bounce back to profitability in 2012.

Nordex will deliver, install and maintain 17 of its N90 machines for Bord Gais’ 42.5MW Garracummer wind farm in County Tipperary, as part of a three-year framework agreement it signed with the state-owned utility running through 2014.

“With Garracummer, we hope to be able to intensify our partnership into the future,” says Lars Bondo Krogsgaard, chief customer officer at Nordex.

On 19 December, Hamburg-based Nordex announced it had eliminated 260 jobs as part of a restructuring package intended to return it to profitability this year. Two-thirds of the positions were removed via voluntary redundancies, the company says.

Nordex posted a narrow loss for the first nine months of 2011, and in November admitted it would miss its full-year sales target of €1bn ($1.3bn) as tough financing conditions forced its customers to delay projects.

The same month Nordex announced that Jürgen Zeschky will take over as chief executive from Thomas Richterich from April 2012. Zeschky currently heads the industrial division at Voith Hydro.

Optimism is swelling within Ireland’s wind market after several years in the doldrums. Ireland boasts one of the world’s highest penetrations of wind power and has a 40% renewables target for 2020.

The sector’s performance has disappointed observers in recent years, with slow grid-connection times representing one of the biggest bottlenecks.

However, Irish politicians are increasingly leaning on renewables to fuel the country’s economic recovery, and eyeing the export of clean electricity to the UK and continental Europe.

Bord Gais, Ireland’s principal supplier of natural gas, entered the renewables business in 2009 via its €500m purchase of SWS, then the country’s second-largest wind developer. It currently operates about a dozen wind farms totalling 225MW.