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'Weak German market forcing us to globalise': Enercon boss

Hans-Dieter Kettwig warns that the current downturn in wind power in Germany may lead to a loss of expertise

The collapse in its German home market is increasingly forcing wind turbine manufacturer Enercon to expand abroad, the OEM’s managing director Hans-Dieter Kettwig said.

“We must find our markets internationally if you don’t sell anything in the German market,” Kettwig said at the opening of the Husum Wind event.

“We are really very worried. This is not just about jobs, but also about the know-how that has been built up in Germany during the past 30 years.”

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Kettwig’s comments came after net onshore wind additions in Europe’s largest economy collapsed to a mere 231MW in the first half of 2019, after just 2.15GW was added in the whole of 2018.

As the leading wind turbine seller in Germany, Enercon has been hit harder by the downturn in the domestic market than some of its competitors.

“Enercon has bet very strongly on Germany as a location. We will continue to ... fight for it,” Kettwig said. “But in the end we ... feel that something is being lost in Germany.”

Kettwig added that selling abroad often also means having to accept local content rules, as in the case of Turkey.

“Countries like Turkey, France or Scandinavia will welcome us with open arms. But we will not just add wind turbines there. We also have to produce there,” Kettwig said. “And we are talking about highly complicated technology, be it rotor blades, generators, nacelles.”

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