Since Enercon was launched in 1984 by mechanical engineer Alloys Wobben, it has gone ahead to forge a unique identity within the wind energy manufacturing sector.
The company is fiercely independent and has frequently gone against the prevailing trends. An example of this is its refusal to move into the offshore sector.
Yet Enercon’s technology and its technological reputation has remained extremely high.
Currently, the company is busy launching new products at the low wind sector. Most notably there is the 4.2MW EP4-141.
But it is better known for the E126 7.5MW turbine. For a long time, this was the biggest wind turbine in the world.
It is still the biggest onshore wind turbine.
Since the retirement of Wobben in 2013, the company has operated as a part of the Wobben Foundation. A situation designed to keep the patent-rich company independent and out of the hands of private equity companies.
It is currently run by CEO Hans-Dieter Kettwig.
Fight with Enercon India
However, despite Enercon’s reputation for technological brilliance, it has had occasional problems as a result of its decisions.
Probably foremost among them is its dispute with one-time subsidiary Enercon India, which was launched in 1994.
It manufactured versions of Enercon’s sub-1MW designs.
The relationship between the two companies has become increasingly acrimonious since 2005. In 2007, Enercon’s own representatives were effectively thrown off of the Enercon India board.
In 2011, the German company warned the industry about deals with foreign subsidiaries and the risk to intellectual property rights.
This arose when it lost a court case in India against its former subsidiary Enercon India.
An Indian patent court declared 12 Enercon patents void. Despite them being registered with authorities in Europe, Canada and the US, the Indian court dismissed them as “demonstrating lack of novelty” and “representing no real innovation.”
Enercon India continues manufacturing Enercon’s 800kW designs in India. It currently operates under a new name, World Wind India.
Avoiding Offshore when everyone else was doing it
It is well-known that Enercon had the largest turbine in the world in the E126. However, it halted its offshore programme around 2006.
There was a brief period when the Enercon was developing a 6MW offshore turbine prototype near Cuxhaven.
There has since been talk about Enercon returning to offshore with a version of the E126.
Indeed, it was testing a nearshore version of the machine in France in 2013. However, Enercon has consistently denied there are any plans.
Additionally, the E126’s concrete tower would require a new foundation and tower for the wind turbine.
Markets and offices
These days it is mostly based in Europe. Although it has operations in Brazil and Canada.
It has avoided the US since a patent fight with the GE in the 2000s.
Besides its German home market, Enercon offices include France, UK, Austria, Greece, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal.
Technology and wind turbine products
Enercon’s latest turbine is the new EP4 platform, which is designed for low and medium wind speeds.
In 2017, it announced a 3.5MW E-126 EP3 turbine with a 127-metre rotor. Following in 2019 will be a 3.5MW E-138 for low-wind deployment and a low-wind EP4 prototype during 2019.
Other technological developments include a battery storage device that is being trialled in the Faroe Islands.
Enercon wind turbine product list
- E-44 (900 kW)
- E-48 (800 kW)
- E-53 (800 kW)
- E-70 (2.300 kW)
- E-82 (2.000 kW)
- E-82 (2.300 kW)
- E-82 (2.350 kW)
- E-82 (3.000 kW)
- E-92 (2.350 kW)
- E-101 (3.050 kW)
- E-101 (3.500 kW)
- E-115 (3.000 kW)
- E-126 EP4 (4.200 kW)
- E-126 (7.580 kW)