The wind industry is facing tough times, as many industries in the ongoing economic crisis are, but what do industry leaders think are the consequences of this difficult period?
The question of whether or not consolidation is or will be taking place in wind energy was key for the six CEOs sitting on the high-level panel at EWEA 2013 in Vienna this morning. “There are a number of companies suffering and not managing balance sheet in tough times,” Alfonso Faubel, Senior Vice President of Alstom Wind Energy, said. “Some players are competitive, others are changing the way they operate,” Stephan Ritter, General Manager Europe, GE, said.
While CEOs did not identify high levels of market consolidation in the onshore wind energy market, they did see consolidation taking place in offshore: Only companies with knowledge will survive in offshore, Faubel said. “We need to have companies in offshore who are in it for the long run,” Jan Kjaersgaard, CEO of Siemens Wind Power, added.
Attentive crowd at EWEA 2013
France’s wind energy targets might be in jeopardy due to legal wrangling over the country’s support scheme for wind energy, the French Wind Energy Association, FEE, warned yesterday.
“France was a promising market, but regulatory problems have led to a decline in new wind energy installations,” Nicolas Wolff, FEE President, told journalists attending EWEA’s 2013 Annual Event in Vienna.
Wind power installations in 2012 were down 35% compared to 2011 installations, “far below what they should be,” Wolff said, adding that in 2012 only 750 megawatts were built when the sector needs to be adding 1,200/1,300 MW per year to meet the country’s targets of 25 GW by 2020.
Turkish Deputy Energy Minister Mercan
Less red tape, an optimised financing mechanism and talking to investors: these three steps are key to increasing wind power in Turkey, the country’s Deputy Energy Minister Mercan said.
Talking to EWEA at the 2013 Annual Event in Vienna this week, he said that slow administrative processes act as a “brake” but not a “block” on wind power investments.
He also spoke in favour of a more integrated power network with Europe, saying “We want to fully integrate the Turkish transmission system to the European network so that trade becomes easy.”
Turkey is one of the most promising – and ambitious – countries for wind energy, with a target of 20 GW by 2023, up from 2 GW today. Yet Deputy Minister Mercan said that while wind energy did have public support, there have been small communities in Turkey which have strongly opposed wind energy developments. He stressed the need to “improve knowledge of clean energy”.
Inigio Sabater Eizaguirre
Significant growth opportunities and benefits can be expected for wind power in central and eastern Europe – including Romania, Poland and Turkey – EWEA’s freshly launched report available at EWEA’s 2013 Annual Event in Vienna and online, says.
“These emerging markets are not only important in their own right, but they have increased perceived importance given the state of wind energy markets elsewhere in Europe,” Pierre Tardieu from EWEA said on launching the report today.
Inigio Sabater Eizaguirre from Vestas said the fact that Europe is still suffering from the economic crisis is a “big incentive” to look for new markets outside the well-established ones in Europe.
Emerging markets “are experiencing teething problems very similar to what we’ve experienced in the rest of the world,” Sabater Eizaguirre said, adding that these problems are not insurmountable.