Wanted: Parts for clean energy

Wind turbines spin near Bornstedt, Germany. That country has invested heavily in wind energy in recent years and large wind farms are now a common site across the country.


Doug Krizner: Wind power may be out in front of the move for renewable energy, but now there's seems to be a shortage of windmills. That's due, according to the Wall Street Journal, because of a shortage of parts. Our correspondent in London is Stephen Beard, he joins us now. Stephen what's going on?

Stephen Beard: Such is the demand for this clean, renewable source of energy, that companies around the world are running out of these bits of equipment. However, because there's been a lot more government support over the years for wind power here than there has in the U.S., European utilities are considerably ahead of their American counterparts.

Krizner: Now some of the utilities have actually taken ownership in the companies that manufacture these turbine parts?

Beard: Indeed. The Wall Street Journal cites a very interesting case of a wind power company in Pennsylvania called Community Energy, which spent years trying to get wind farms going, but they approached a big Spanish utility, Iberdrola, and as a result of their negotiations, Iberdrola ended up buying the Pennsylvanians company and setting up a wind farm producing enough electricity for 6,500 homes. Now Iberdrola was able to do this because last year this company spent more than $4 billion buying a stake in the world's second largest wind turbine maker.

Krizner: So the parts shortage then for U.S. companies puts them in a vulnerable position as a possible takeover candidate.

Beard: Indeed. In fact, Iberdrola has snapped up two other small U.S. wind power companies and last month they started negotiating the purchase of the first regulated U.S. utility company.

Krizner: Hey Stephen, thanks very much

Beard: OK Doug.

Krizner: Our reporter in London, Stephen Beard.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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