Vestas contract mitigates wind sector's challenges

Vestas' Canadian contract extension

The contract extension will help Vestas keep its revenue stream as the company seeks new turbine business in 2013.

Vestas has landed an extension of a critical wind power plant contract in Alberta.

The agreement with ENMAX Energy Corp. means that Vestas will provide its Active Output Management systems for the Kettles Hill Wind Farm. The site includes 35 wind turbines in the Canadian province.

The AOM systems provide weather forecasting that help ensure turbines are operating when the wind is blowing. Vestas effectively helps the turbines function for the maximum amount of time.

For Vestas' Portland operations, the deal simply means continued service-related revenue, which is expected to total $1.3 billion in 2013. The Portland office oversees sales in the U.S. and Canada.

North of the border, the deal allows Vestas to continue to provide many of the 200 jobs that are filled by workers in Alberta and elsewhere.

"Turbine sales have been challenging in the last year, especially with the late extension of the production tax credit," said Andrew Longeteig, the company's external communications chief. The tax credit wasn't extended until Jan. 2. The late extension put Vestas and other wind turbine companies in a bind because they weren't certain whether they could count on the benefit.

"Our service business provides some stability because it provides an additional revenue stream to the company," Longeteig said. "It also provides long-term jobs. In Canada, it's job stability for at least five years."

On the service front, Vestas monitors data from nearly 25,000 wind turbines worldwide. Those turbines generate nearly 43 gigawatts.

The company has installed more than 55 gigawatts of turbine-generated capacity.

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