German-Danish wind turbine maker Nordex said on Tuesday it expected the entry of cash-rich giants like General Electric into the so far small-scale wind power industry to transform the sector.

“The industry will have changed within a year, that’s my guess. I would be surprised if GE is satisfied not being number one,” Nordex Executive Vice President Carsten Pedersen told Reuters at the sidelines of a wind energy trade fair.

In early May, GE acquired the fourth largest wind turbine maker – Enron Wind from bankrupt parent company Enron while British engineering group FKI a few weeks ago bought small German player DeWind.

Wind turbine manufacturers stress that access to funds is a crucial element in the race for future wind farm projects, which are getting larger and larger. Being part of a large industrial group is one way to get there.

But Pedersen stressed that Nordex was not itself in any kind of consolidation talks.

“On the other hand, no one never knows what could happen to a listed company,” he said. Shares in Nordex have more than halved from their peak at more than EUR10 in July last year to last trade at EUR4.02 on Tuesday, EUR.13 cents down on the day.

Some of the world’s largest wind turbine makers Danish Vestas and NEG Micon have increased their capital reserves during recent months to finance growth, but Pedersen said Nordex would not search for funds at present.

“But we will need money in a few years if the market continues to grow as it does now,” Pedersen said. Wind power consultancy BTM foresees total global wind capacity to be increasing by 14 400 MW per year by 2006. The world’s current total capacity is around 25 000 MW.

Nordex expects to install some 600 MW in 2002 with around half of the capacity in Germany, Pedersen said. He also said the company hopes to seal its first major U.S. order for wind turbines with a total generating capacity of 150 MW soon. Current turbines each have a capacity of up to 2.5 MW.

“We are close to get a project of 150 MW in Montana, but we have no confirmed order yet,” Pedersen said.