In its vision to expand its presence globally, Deutsche Windtechnik is turning to the UK and the big British energy providers, with the aim of winning over the market power of original equipment manufacturers to help it in its endeavour.

Deutsche Windtechnik is a leading independent service provider (ISP) for wind turbine generators (WTGs) in Germany. While the name says something about the origin of the company, there are plans to act on a more global level than merely its domestic market. Besides Spain and Poland, where Deutsche Windtechnik already has a large portfolio of maintenance contracts, the UK is also a promising market for the specialists of Siemens and Vestas technology. With more than 2,200 service contracts, this ISP is increasingly confident to offer its service abroad.


"We are in the process of building close business relationships with Britain’s leading energy providers and wind farm operators; our goal is to tackle the market power of the original equipment manufacturers [OEMs]", says Thorben Groth, who steers Deutsche Windtechnik’s UK development. "The UK’s competitive landscape is scarce and the market currently does not offer any real alternatives to the OEMs in the multimegawatt class. That is where Deutsche Windtechnik steps in to provide a reliable option."


The ISP effect

This scenario is well known from other European markets. In Germany, for instance, a drop in maintenance costs followed the establishment of the first ISPs – progress that gave the whole O&M market more momentum. Nowadays, a growing number of ISPs are offering the same services as the manufacturer, and on an equal level of quality and technical know-how. These players develop individual service-strategies with and for their clients.


"The most important development is also the foundation for independent service: absolute technical knowledge and performance in all aspects. This is the basis for the right service concept, which could contain multiple modules: stateful, corrective, preventive, reactive, reliability or productivity-oriented," explains Matthias Brandt, chairman of the board at Deutsche Windtechnik.


In many cases, ISPs act as sub-contractors for the OEMs and are only entitled to carry out minor repairs and tasks. Many ISPs have already surpassed this stage and act independently, in direct competition with OEMs. They offer all work up to full-service contracts for operators, energy providers or institutional investors. Banks also accept ISPs as credible providers of finance-relevant service and maintenance.


According to Brandt, full maintenance is a continuous trend in Germany. "The average wind farm operator prefers a reliable partner who takes over most of the responsibility. This makes it much easier to calculate and avoid interface losses. Banks and insurers appreciate this trend but, of course, you will also find operators – especially if they manage big portfolios – that do not prefer full maintenance."


The client and market structure differs throughout Europe. Whereas in Germany and Poland small-scale projects with few WTGs dominate, other markets such as the UK are characterised by large-scale projects with dozens of WTGs. In this respect, knowledge of the individual market structure is highly important.


"The UK market varies greatly from other European markets due to its size, and the professionalism of operators and other stakeholders," Groth points out. "We can provide an independent point of view, helping operators and owners to develop the optimum service and maintenance strategy for their portfolio."


Deutsche Windtechnik maintains business contracts with partners in 28 countries. Along with the focus on the service business onshore and offshore, the spare parts trade, consultancy work and the used wind turbine trade are part of the international business. In the meantime, the group, which is headquartered in Bremen, has more than 500 employees and service contracts, with about 2,200 plants. Service stations can be found throughout Germany, as well as in Poland, Spain and Denmark.