Broadwind’s tower order comes during industry consolidation

Broadwind Energy, (NASDAQ: BWEN) has received wind turbine tower orders totaling $37m from two U.S. wind turbine manufacturers, for production beginning in late 2012 and into 2013.

The towers will be produced at the company’s Manitowoc, Wis., plant. Demand for wind components has plummeted as suppliers brace for the end of the federal production tax credit at the end of the year. Projects have been cancelled in 2013 due to the uncertainty.

A spokesperson said all orders were for U.S. projects, rather than for Canadian or other foreign markets. Wind supply chain manufacturers have looked to Canada and Latin America to pick up some of the slack next year as demand in the U.S. for projects next year has collapsed.

 “The market for wind towers in the U.S. is coming into balance,” Broadwind Energy President and CEO Peter Duprey said in a news release. “Due to the pending expiration of the Production Tax Credit and the wind tower trade case, a number of competitors, both foreign and domestic, have exited the market or repurposed some of their production assets. This has improved the balance between supply and demand.”

Duprey said Broadwind is now the second largest tower manufacturer in the U.S., “and we are winning new business for 2013 despite the regulatory uncertainty in Washington.”

Otter Tail Corp. (NASDAQ:OTTR) this fall sold the wind tower plant and equipment of its unit DMI Industries to Trinity Industries Inc. for $20m. The assets acquired consist primarily of approximately 665,000 square feet of heavy manufacturing capacity and equipment located in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Ontario.

Broadwind also was one of the successful petitioners to the U.S. Department of Commerce when it and three other companies complained that wind towers made in China and Vietnam received illegal subsidies.

Duprey told GenerationHub in June that the company was seeking to diversify its product base to include oil and gas exploration so it would not be as vulnerable to a wind industry downturn.