Alstom-Tri Global deal highlights expanding market

17 January 2014 by Carl Levesque Carl Levesque

A couple of weeks ago, we highlighted a flurry of turbine orders that were announced during the holiday week, the last week of the year.

Well, another deal took place around that time, although the announcement did not come until this week. This time around, it’s the players that are involved in the transaction that make bringing up the topic one more time worth it.

Wind turbine manufacturers installing utility-scale turbines in the U.S., by year


from U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2012, American Wind Energy Association

Previously, we heard about such familiar names as Vestas and Gamesa racking up orders from such prominent developers as First Wind. The latest announcement: Alstom Power, a global player that has been fairly quiet in the U.S. recently, entered into a turbine supply agreement with Tri Global Energy, LLC under which the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will provide turbines for Tri Global’s 80-MW Fiber Winds Energy project in Texas. The companies made the announcement Jan. 13, but they stated the deal was inked on Dec. 30.

Under the agreement, Alstom will supply four of its ECO110 turbines and 25 ECO122 units along with 10 years of service and maintenance. Construction of the project is expected to begin in mid-2014, with commercial operations scheduled to commence in 2015.  Tri Global Energy recently acquired 100 percent ownership of Fiber Winds Energy and intends to be the plant operator.

The deal highlights what promises to be a hot market in the next couple of years. Generally speaking, and industry consolidation notwithstanding, when the megawatts being deployed rise, so do the number of OEMs active in the market. In the record year of 2012, for example, when over 13,000 MW were installed, an impressive 29 OEMs shipped turbines, according to AWEA’s annual report of that year. The last U.S. installations from Alstom, which is a global energy giant, were during 2011.

Thus, the just-announced order puts Alstom back in the mix of turbine manufacturers delivering in the U.S. The sale to Tri Global will more than double the company’s current installed capacity in the U.S. “The Fiber Winds contract is a sign of continued progress and demonstrates our commitment to the U.S. wind market,” said Andy Geissbuehler, head of Alstom’s North American Wind Business. “We look forward to working with Tri Global Energy to build successful projects that increase U.S. energy production capacity through clean, proven wind power, as demonstrated by the Fiber Winds project, which will reduce carbon emissions by 248,400 metric tons per year.”

Tri Global, meanwhile, is another interesting case. The developer, which historically has focused on community wind, has a solid pipeline of projects it’s working on and so it will be busy from here on out. The company focuses its development work in West Texas, Eastern New Mexico, and the Central U.S.