Engineering giant Siemens has made its presence felt in the wind business, winning six contracts to build 565-megawatts worth of wind turbines, valued at more than $900 million. About 250 of the turbines will be installed in Ontario Canada, with the other 750 (enough to power 170,000 homes) destined for wind farms in California, Oklahoma, Washington and Wyoming (for a project owned and operated by Duke Energy).
Having first entered the wind market five years ago, Siemens is steadily climbing the ranks of turbine suppliers in the U.S. — especially after starting construction on its new turbine factory in Kansas last month (it’s expected to be up and running by fall of next year). As it stands, it’s the sixth largest manufacturer in the world, according to Bloomberg, still lingering behind Vestas Wind Systems, GE Wind Energy, Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica, SA, Enercon and Suzlon Energy (though its No. 1 in offshore turbine installations). It says it hopes to rank third in the world by 2012.
Siemens growing involvement in wind has been good for green collar workers in the U.S. It already employs 900 at its various wind facilities, including its recently opened blade-making factory in Iowa. The plant in Kansas is expected to tack 400 more jobs onto this total.
It makes sense that Siemens is betting to wind — the fastest growing sector in renewable energy. Last year, wind energy provided the bulk of the renewable electricity generated in the U.S., the Department of Energy says. And that was before wind farms benefited from generous federal subsidies handed out this year. The majority of $1.5 billion in cash grants given out by the DOE to clean energy projects in the last month went to wind developments. And a report by Pike Research predicted that North America will be home to 40,000 brand new wind turbines by 2015. Siemens says it predicts the space to grow 17 percent annually.
Still, wind power is only a fraction of Siemens’ cleantech portfolio (accountable for $28.4 billion, or 25 percent, of the conglomerate’s revenue last year). It has also ratcheted up its efforts in the Smart Grid market, signing a technology interoperability deal with Smart Grid company Silver Spring Networks at the end of September. Now the electrical substations it builds will be able to communicate with the networking software and hardware Silver Spring supplies to transmit energy consumption data collected by smart meters.
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