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Wanted: Parts for clean energy

Stephen Beard Jul 9, 2007


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.

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