Hitachi in Japan, a manufacturer active in the onshore and offshore markets, is to cease developing its own units and market turbines built by Germany’s Enercon, with whom it has long had a relationship.
In a statement issued on 25 January 2019, the Japanese company said it plans to strengthen its wind power maintenance services but would not continue to market its own turbines.
Instead the company plans to strengthen its alliance with Enercon, a manufacturer and distributor of turbines that boasts a leading share in the German market and sizeable share of the European onshore wind market.
The company said the wind power market had changed significantly. It noted that companies' business models are also in transition, shifting away from a model based only selling turbines to one based on service that incorporates long-term operation and maintenance packages.
Responding to these changes, Hitachi has developed a service platform, ‘Lumada’, designed to control wind power generation systems and combine them with digital technology. The company said it will also accelerate the provision of new solutions utilizing artificial intelligence. It is currently conducting demonstration testing of technology designed for large-scale windfarms in conjunction with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and the University of Tokyo.
Hitachi is well known for its downwind turbines but said that because of its current structure, “there are issues hindering the further expansion of the business.” From now on, it with therefore market Enercon turbines.
Although Hitachi said it would continue to support projects it is currently engaged in, in the longer term the decision would seem to mean an end to its involvement in the offshore sector.
In 2016 Hitachi unveiled a 5 MW offshore wind turbine, the HTW5.2-136, with a downwind configuration, but the new unit is small in comparison with 10 MW+ units being developed in Europe.
Enercon is a dedicated manufacturer and distributor of wind turbines and claims a large share of the German market and is one of the leading manufacturers in Europe but is not currently active in the offshore sector, although it developed a 7.5 MW unit said to have offshore potential.