Siemens Blows Away the Competition in the Americas, But Does It Matter?

Source: Siemens AG

Siemens AG celebrated a major milestone this week. With the commissioning of the 38th wind turbine at the South Kent wind farm in Ontario, Siemens has surpassed 10 GW of installed wind capacity in the Americas. "The Americas' wind markets have been our major growth engine in the last years," said Jan Kjaersgaard, CEO Onshore of Siemens Wind Power. With a presence in Canada, the U.S., and South American countries like Chile, Peru, and Brazil, Siemens has contributed to the development of more than 110 wind projects. Over the past 10 years, this represents up to 50% of the company's yearly installations. 

Source: Siemens AG

The wind's blowing, but is business booming?
Despite its accomplishments in the Americas, Siemens hasn't seen this translate into profits. In its 2013 Annual Report, Siemens noted that orders in its wind power segment increased 34% from 2012 to 2013; however, its revenue in the same segment only increased 2% and profit only increased 1%.

The most recent quarter didn't yield much better news for the wind power segment. For the second quarter, Siemens reported that orders declined 46% year-over-year, while revenue improved 13% and profit margin dropped 4.3%.

Stealing the wind from its sails
As successful as Siemens has been in the region, it is facing some tough competition from two industry stalwarts. Perhaps they don't have the same amount of installed capacity in the region, but Vestas Wind Systems  and GE are formidable opponents. Recently, Infinity Wind Power, which is in the process of developing a 110 MW wind project in North Dakota, revealed that it is not considering Siemens as a turbine supplier for the project. Instead, Infinity is weighing between Vestas to supply 55 of its 2 MW turbines or GE to supply 59 of its 1.85 MW turbines. Infinity expects construction of the project to begin in mid-2015. Further south, GE is also stealing headlines from Siemens.

Nearly twice the size of Infinity's North Dakota project, the 211 MW Grandview 1 wind project in the Texas Panhandle will feature 118 of GE's 1.7 MW turbines. E.ON  Climate and Renewables North America is developing the project, whose success may result in further partnerships with GE in the future. E.ON's CEO, Patrick Woodson, said, "Working with such strong partners like GE on the front end is a new effort for E.ON and one that will pay dividends as we bring our nineteenth wind farm in the United States online."

Elsewhere in the state, the Spinning Spur 2 wind project, located outside of Amarillo, Texas has begun commercial operations. The 161 MW facility is comprised of 87 of GE's 1.85 MW wind turbines. EDF Renewable Energy, in addition to using GE for the turbines, has received equity financing from GE Energy Financial Services. 

The Foolish takeaway...
At over 10 GW of wind capacity in the Americas, there's no debate that Siemens has an immense footprint in the region. Looking at Siemens' financials, one finds that large installed wind capacity doesn't translate in and of itself into large profits. And, while Siemens is trying to convert spinning turbines to spinning profits, Vestas and GE are nipping at its heels, constantly threatening to steal project wins from Siemens.

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