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COPENHAGEN, April 6 Denmark's Vestas,
the world's largest wind turbine maker, is keen to expand into
areas such as energy storage to increase the global use of wind
power and bring costs down.
The wind industry is entering a phase of slower growth and
steadier demand for turbines, prompting producers to look at
alternatives to grow revenue.
"The storage side is interesting and there are a lot of
small start-ups that might be of interest. I’m looking for
industry batteries," Vestas Chairman Bert Nordberg told Reuters.
"If you can store over-production in a good way it would
take down the total cost."
Energy storage is the capture of energy produced for use at
a later time, for instance in the form of batteries. The
technology is becoming increasingly viable with the rise in
sales of electric cars.
In January, U.S. electric car maker Tesla launched
a massive battery storage facility in the California desert. In
Europe, a former Tesla executive wants to build a plant to rival
the scale of his former employer's Gigafactory in Sweden.
Nordberg said Vestas could consider buying small stakes in
many companies "to see which one wins before you go for a major
"We have 3.2 billion euro in cash and no debt so we can
afford to invest," he said, declining to say how much the firm
would be willing to spend.
He added that he preferred investing the money rather than
initiating a buy-back programme.
"A buy-back is pretty boring. It’s better if we find
something that can develop the company so I’m pushing management
to have better ideas than buy-backs," he said.
Vestas came back from the brink of bankruptcy just four
years ago and the share price has risen more than 1,000 percent
over the past five years.
But the company could lose its status as the world's biggest
wind turbine maker as Germany's Siemens and Spain's
Gamesa agreed to combine their assets in the sector.
"We definitely are going to make their life miserable. We
are going to take the deals... We have exactly the same goal
that we should the biggest player," Nordberg said.
While he expected consolidation among smaller players in the
industry, Vestas was not aiming to buy anything big.
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, editing by David Evans and Susan