COPENHAGEN Dec 30 A spate of last-minute orders
from the United States has put Danish wind turbine maker Vestas
on track for its highest contract intake in six years and eased
some investors' concerns over U.S. energy policy under the
incoming Trump administration.
Vestas Wind Systems and its rivals are benefiting
from a new focus on renewables, encouraged by the Paris
Agreement on climate change last December and a five-year
extension of a key U.S. Production Tax Credit.
But Vestas' share price, which had more than doubled since
the beginning of 2016, came under pressure after it early in
November warned of a slowdown in the U.S. market next year,
coupled with the election win by Donald Trump, who had expressed
support for conventional fossil fuels.
The company, however, has announced eight U.S. orders from
Wednesday through Friday totalling more than 700 megawatts of
new wind power capacity.
Sydbank analyst Jacob Pedersen is "very positively
surprised" about the prospect for a new order record, he said in
a note, adding that it signalled 2018 could bring progress after
an expected slight decline next year.
He said he saw increased uncertainty after Trump's election
win but any worsening of the conditions for wind farms would not
be of significance until 2020 at the earliest.
"Wind and renewable energy have broad bipartisan support in
the United States," Vestas told Reuters by email on Friday. It
said wind energy's natural competitiveness against other power
generation sources would "help ensure its solid future".
Trump's presidency would "in theory" be negative for the
renewables sector, Chief Financial Officer Marika Fredriksson
told Reuters just before the U.S. presidential election, but
said it was too early to assess as the industry creates a lot of
jobs, a main political target for Trump.
Vestas has announced wind turbine orders for a total of 8.92
gigawatts this year, up from 8.10 gigawatts at the same time
last year, according to the company's website.
Taking into account still-unannounced orders, the order
intake for 2016 is projected to rise above last year's 8.94
Vestas has announced orders from the United States for over
3.1 gigawatts this year, more than a third of its total orders,
up from 2.87 gigawatts in 2015.
The total for 2016, including still-unannounced orders, will
be announced on Feb. 8 when Vestas publishes full-year results.
(Additional reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by