WIND ENERGY Tall, steel-intensive and turbo-charged for turning profits

Nov 01, 2007 | 10:53 AM |

Many top steel analysts don't pay much attention to the wind energy sector. After all, it represents less than 10 percent of total steel demand in North America, according to CIBC World Markets analyst Michael Willemse.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep your eye on the market, given that it is expected to grow exponentially in coming years. In 2006, global installed wind energy capacity jumped 26 percent to about 74 gigawatts (GW), according to a report by the Global Wind Energy Council, creating demand for approximately $23 billion in new equipment—much of it made of steel.

Windmills are essentially composed of three parts The tower, generally constructed of steel plate, which supports the gigantic blades and turbine; the nacelle, which includes the turbine and other bars, gears and bearings used to create electricity; and, attached to the nacelle, the blades (usually made of high-technology composites also used to build some airplane frames) that harness the wind.....

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