Broadwind tower business strong

Broadwind Energy says its structural wind tower production capacity is two-thirds sold out for 2015 and with the company in “late stage” discussions with potential customers to fill the balance.

“I fully expect further progress in Q3 in filling out 2015,” chief executive Peter Duprey said on a conference call, adding that talks are also underway for booking 2016 production queues. “The wind market is still showing signs of strength for 2015 and 2016.”

Broadwind had a $222m tower order backlog on 30 June, up 56% from a year earlier. Last month, it also received a $34m order.

“Even without the production tax credit, the wind market is full of activity,” he says, referring to the wind industry’s main federal tax incentive that expired last 31 December.

Broadwind manufactured 119 towers in the second quarter. The firm has been ramping production at its Abilene, Texas, plant but the pace has been slower than planned due to difficulties hiring and training an expanded workforce.

Looking ahead, he says the wind industry should benefit by the decision made by some developers to form yieldcos, which is a “very efficient way to finance projects.”

Another potential positive development was the early June release of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed CO2 emission standards for existing fossil-fueled plants. EPA aims to cut power plant emissions by roughly 18% below 2012 levels by 2030.

“Although the price of carbon is not specifically set, the regulation starts to send the message that generation with greater carbon intensity will have limits and utilities will need to have a more diverse generation mix, which should help the wind industry,” Duprey says.

Broadwind in the second quarter had $1.9m net income, or 12 cents per share, versus $400,000, or four cents per share, a year earlier.