New order for Siemens Gamesa 4.5MW model boosts OEM's US hopes

Deal with MidAmerican Energy cements turbine maker's lead in emerging market for bigger onshore machines

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has landed an order for 21 of its SG4.5-145 turbines for MidAmerican Energy’s 95MW Southern Hills Expansion wind power project in Iowa, widening the OEM’s lead in the prospective 4.2MW-4.8MW market segment in the US.

The OEM says the 145-metre-diameter rotor machines will operate at a 4.8MW rating – by far the highest for any turbine owned by MidAmerican, one of several electric utilities in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

SGRE, which will provide service and maintenance over 42 months as part of the deal, sees the SG4.5-145 as a “benchmark solution” for sites with medium winds, designed to offer a flexible rating ranging from 4.2MW-4.8 MW depending on site conditions.

The order is the OEM’s third in five months for the SG4.5-145 , taking its orderbook for the model to over 1GW, following two previous purchases by EDF Renewables, historically a Vestas customer in the US.

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Both SGRE and Nordex, the number two supplier in the 4.2MW-plus category here, have been quick to respond to developers looking for turbines larger than the 3MW-3.6MW class – the longstanding upper limit for turbine nameplates in the US.

Demand is being driven by these giant machines’ ability to produce at a lower levelised cost of energy, and growing acceptance by local officials and regulators for turbines with higher hub heights and larger rotor diameters.

The deals for the SG4.5-145s are also important commercial wins for SGRE in the US where in 2018 it slid to fourth place behind GE, Vestas and Nordex, as the German-Spainish OEM struggled to gain ground key markets in the Texas, the Midwest and Plains states.

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