The world’s biggest supplier of offshore wind turbines, Siemens Gamesa, warned Asia-Pacific governments not to expect any investments to support local content unless the output can be exported, as an industry conference heard claims that the region’s key markets are too “introspective” in their approach to supply chains.
Christian Bender, Siemens Gamesa’s head of offshore wind investments, said the manufacturer was seeing a tendency towards a “country-centric local content approach” in some Asia-Pacific markets – a situation he said was not sustainable for hard-pressed turbine OEMs.
“Any local content that we have to manufacture will have to be competitive, so we can also export within the region or even globally, because we will not be able to afford investments… if it’s only located to one country,” Bender told a panel at the WindEnergy Hamburg industry event in Germany.
Bender also cited projects that are too small and “not so mature” regulations and scoring systems in auctions as among the obstacles to progress in Asia-Pacific.
Eloise Burnett, senior Asia manager for advisory group the Carbon Trust, told the panel that her organisation carried out a major study last year into whether Asian markets were open to regional co-operation in offshore wind supply chains.
“The answer was no, net yet,” Burnett said. “It’s the introspective, it’s the looking after your own house first before turning round and looking outwards.”
Burnett said that represents a “huge, missed opportunity” and urged the industry have to use its influence across geographies to foster a more collaborative approach.
Siemens Gamesa’s Bender told the panel there were signs of what could be achieved by “cross regional clusters” in the OEMs’ own spread of supply chain partners across Asia, for example foundations in South Korea and towers in Vietnam.
And despite the obstacles, Bender nevertheless said Asia-Pacific is expected to show “really impressive” growth in excess of 20% in the second half of the decade thanks to expansion in non-Chinese markets such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.