These are the independent power producers and utilities at the forefront of growth in the European onshore wind industry
Developers in the European Union completed 14GW of onshore wind farms in 2023, which helped propel the continent to a record year for installations. That was the headline from WindEurope last month as it released 2023 installation statistics.
The association has since warned that 17GW total installations last year – onshore and offshore – is far below the 30GW needed annually if the EU is to meet its 2030 climate and energy security targets. It has called on the EU to help national governments remove development bottlenecks and be more ambitious in its Net Zero Industry Act.
But while improvements to the system are needed, we wanted to take time to recognise the companies that are leading onshore wind development activity in Europe. This week, A Word About Wind shares a rundown of firms who are typically involved in the earliest stage of the onshore wind development cycle in Europe, which we expect to play crucial roles in accelerating growth in the industry.
Germany’s Abo Wind ended 2023 by securing power purchase agreements with a large US tech business at a 30MW wind farm in Finland and a 50MW solar farm in Spain. The company also agreed last year to sell its 86.8MW Pajuperänkangas wind farm in Finland to the L&G NTR Clean Power Fund. Abo Wind has 21GW in development globally, including 5.5GW in Finland.
Key figure: Karsten Schlageter, managing director
Germany’s BayWa r.e. started 2024 by securing a power purchase deal to supply Smartest Energy with electricity from its 43MW Broken Cross wind farm in Scotland. The firm also made headlines in 2023 by winning consent from the Scottish government for the 70MW Corriegarth 2 scheme; and by selling its 42MW Dalquhandy wind farm to Greencoat UK Wind.
Key figure: Matthias Taft, chief executive (below)
The UK-based Banks Renewables became part of Brookfield Renewable in October 2023 in a £830m deal. Banks focuses on developing projects in the difficult UK onshore wind market, where it has 11 schemes totalling 307MW in operation and a further 580MW in the planning system. The firm recently won support to extend the lifetime of wind farms in Teesside and Yorkshire.
Key figure: Richard Dunkley, managing director
Ukrainian developer DTEK Renewables won plaudits from across the wind industry in 2023 as it brought the first phase of its 500MW Tyligulska project online in its home country despite the ongoing war. The firm started 2024 by revealing its plan to expand in Croatia, Italy, Poland and Romania, to help it enable it to 5GW installed capacity across the European Union by 2030.
Key figure: Maxim Timchenko, chief executive (below)
French utility EDF Renewables is active in renewable energy projects in at least 20 countries on six continents, and has maintained progress on major European wind farms in the last year. The company is working on a 400MW project in Scotland; entered a joint venture with Ireland’s ESB on a 200MW scheme; and switched on the 21.6MW Sud-Arrageois wind farm in France.
Key figure: Bruno Bensasson, chief executive
Portuguese utility EDP Renewables is a global leader in renewable energy operating from four global hubs: Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and South America. In Europe, it is active in countries including France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the UK. In 2023, it sold a 301MW portfolio of wind and solar projects in Poland to utility Orlen; sold a 257MW wind portfolio in Spain to Verbund; and won Contracts for Difference for two UK schemes.
Key figure: Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, chief executive
Estonian developer Enefit Green is majority owned by utility Eesti, and has spent the last 12 months progressing wind projects in eastern Europe and other European markets. These include the 90MW Kelme 2 development in Lithuania, where it took an investment decision in December; the 255MW Sopi-Tootsi wind project in Estonia; and the 53MW Purtse hybrid scheme.
Key figure: Aavo Kärmas, chief executive (below)
German developer Energiequelle mad progress on a series of major onshore wind projects last year. In February, it started building the 106MW Mikonkeidas project in Finland; in April, it completed the Torvenkylä project, also in Finland, and sold it to Commerz Real; and it started building the 12.6MW Krummensee wind farm in Germany in November.
Key figure: Michael Raschemann, owner and managing director
Swedish developer Eolus bolstered its development capabilities in Finland in December 2023 by buying YIT Energy, which added 2.3GW to its project portfolio. Eolus also sold wind projects totalling 125MW to Swiss utility BKW Energie last June; partnered with Finnish firm Finsilva in May on 600MW of projects in May; and completed the 400MW Øyfjellet in Norway in April.
Key figure: Per Witalisson, chief executive
Italian developer ERG drew headlines in February 2024 when it revealed it has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Google at the 47MW Roccapalumba wind farm in Sicily. ERG also completed its first repowered wind farm in Italy in October as it turned on the Partinico Monreale project; and commissioned the 92.4MW Creag Riabhach wind farm in Scotland.
Key figure: Paolo Merli, chief executive
Danish developer European Energy commissioned 600MW of wind farms in 2023, and gained a €150m funding facility in November to support further growth in its wind and solar portfolio. The company is planning to quadruple the capacity of the 30MW Niemegk wind farm in Germany that it acquired from Danish utility SFF, and is expanding in the power-to-X sector too.
Key figure: Knud Erik Andersen, chief executive and co-founder (below)
GALILEO GREEN ENERGY
Swiss-headquartered developer Galileo Green Energy ended 2023 with a bang as it announced a joint venture with Ireland’s Empower Renewables to develop 10GW of wind, solar and storage projects in northern Europe; and a 300MW partnership to develop onshore wind farms in Italy with Hope Group. The firm also plans to expand in green hydrogen and floating wind.
Key figure: Ingmar Wilhelm, chief executive (below)
Spanish utility Iberdrola arm made good progress on onshore wind projects in key European markets in the last 12 months. It secured the land for up to 200MW of wind in Germany in October; finished building work on Spain’s first wind-and-solar hybrid project in September; and expanded its capacity in Greece to over 420MW as it commissioned two schemes.
Key figure: Armando Martinez Martinez, chief executive
Lithuania’s Ignitis Renewables attracted its biggest headlines in the last 12 months for winning key offshore wind tenders in Estonia. However, it made headway on land too in 2023 by turning on its 63MW Mažeikiai onshore wind farm in Lithuania; and acquiring an up-to-300MW wind farm in Lithuania’s Kelmė district from E Energija. It is also active in Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland.
Key figure: Thierry Aelens, chief executive
Finnish developer Ilmatar has started 2024 strongly by commissioning the 221MW wind portion of a 371MW hybrid complex in the South Ostrobothnia region of Finland. In 2023, the firm also commissioned the Västervik and Isokeidas wind farms totalling 87MW; secured a power purchase agreement for the 38.4MW Korpilevonmäki project; and raised €500m to support its growth.
Key figure: Juha-Pekka Weckström, chief executive
Danish giant Ørsted is best known for offshore wind but, since 2018, it has been growing in onshore wind too. Last October, Ørsted commissioned the 16MW Ballykeel wind farm in Northern Ireland to supply power to Amazon; and, last month, it committed to build a 43.2MW project that will be its 22nd on the island of Ireland. The utility also bought developer Ostwind in 2022.
Key figure: Olivia Breese, senior vice president, head of power-to-X, and interim chief executive of Europe (below)
Sweden’s OX2 Wind has established itself as one of Europe’s busiest wind developers. In the last year, it has completed onshore projects including the 146MW Klevberget wind farm in Sweden for Renewable Power Capital, as well as three Finnish wind farms totalling 170MW; and the 41MW Grajewo and 23MW Sulmierzyce projects in Poland for DIF Capital Partners.
Key figure: Paul Stormoen, chief executive
Germany’s PNE last month increased its operational wind portfolio to 370MW as it turned on two projects totalling 21.6MW in Schleswig-Holstein. The firm reported in mid-2023 that it had 8.6GW of onshore wind projects in development, including 2.3GW in Germany, and that it aims to have 1.5GW of wind and solar assets in operation by 2027.
Key figure: Markus Lesser, chief executive (below)
Polish utility Polenergia grew its operational wind and solar capacity to over 530MW in 2023 by commissioning the 121MW Dębsk, 44MW Grabowo and 13.2MW Piekło projects in Poland. In addition, the firm entered Romania in October by buying a 60% stake in Naxxar Renewable Energy, which has a 685.6MW portfolio in the country’s Dobrogea region.
Key figure: Michał Michalski, president
French group Qair expanded its portfolio of operational renewables assets to over 1GW in 2023, with a further 30GW in development in Europe, Africa and South America. The company started 2024 by commissioning two wind farms totalling 262.5MW in Poland. It also brought in French bank Bpifrance as a new shareholder in January 2023 to accelerate its growth in Europe.
Key figure: Louis Blanchard, president
Spanish investor and developer Qualitas reached a €2.4bn final close for its fifth Q-Energy Fund in October. The firm will use the funds to support its activities, which includes 3GW of wind farms either operational or in development. In December, Qualitas sold a 112.5GW portfolio of wind assets to German firm NeXtWind, and also teamed up in 2023 with Surplus Equity Partners.
Key figure: Ińigo Olaguíbel, founding partner and chief executive
Italian developer Renantis announced last June that it would combine with Ventient Energy in 2024 to create a group with 4.2GW operational capacity and 18GW in development. Renantis supported its development activities in 2023 by signing power purchase agreements at its onshore wind projects with off-takers including Amazon, Merck and United Caps.
Key figure: Toni Volpe, chief executive (below)
RENEWABLE POWER CAPITAL
Renewable Power Capital is backed by Canadian pensions fund giant CPP Investment and has projects of 6.5GW in development. Last month, the firm agreed a 553MW deal with Nordex for turbines for four onshore wind farms in Sweden. This followed the partnership it announced in February 2023 to develop 1GW of onshore wind projects in Poland with Tundra Advisory.
Key figure: Bob Psaradellis, chief executive
The UK-headquartered RES Group has delivered over 23GW of renewable energy projects globally in its 40 years. Its onshore wind highlights last year included switching on the 85.8MW Rödene wind farm in Sweden with Mirova and Octopus; and selling its 25MW Upper Ogmore project in Wales to Marubeni. RES also plans to deploy 158MW of wind in German forests.
Key figure:Marco Perona, chief executive EMEA
German utility RWE Renewables bolstered its development pipeline in 2023 by winning backing for projects including 168MW of offshore wind in the UK and 162.5MW in France. In May, it agreed a framework deal with Siemens Gamesa to deploy its turbines at European onshore wind projects totalling 1GW; and last month completed its 20th onshore wind farm in Poland.
Key figure: Katja Wünschel, chief executive, Europe & Australia (below)
British utility SSE Renewables has made strong progress on its 443MW Viking wind farm in the UK’s Shetland Islands in 2023, and is on track to commission the huge scheme in 2024. The utility also won backing for 605MW of onshore wind projects in Scotland in the UK’s fifth Contracts for Difference allocation round in September 2023, but said space and protests meant it would not pursue projects in England or Wales.
Key figure: Finlay McCutcheon, director of onshore renewables, Europe
Norwegian utility Statkraft bolstered its development portfolio last year with its €1.8bn buyout of Spanish firm Enerfin from Elecnor in November; and of Swedish firm Svevind Nordic, which has a 20GW project pipeline. Statkraft also last year signed power purchase agreements with firms including Air Liquide, AstraZeneca and Hydro that are supporting its wind projects.
Key figure: Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal, executive vice president, Nordics (below)
Germany’s UKA Group grabbed headlines last May as it was commissioned by motor giant Mercedes-Benz to install 20 wind turbines at a test track in Papenburg. In December, UKA ordered Nordex turbines for seven projects totalling 197.1MW in Germany. It has also launched legal action against the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania due to long permitting delays.
Key figure: Gernot Gauglitz, managing partner
In 2023, Swedish utility Vattenfall commissioned its 240MW South Kyle wind farm in Scotland, which is set to be owned by Greencoat UK Wind. The company also took an investment decision to start building a 67MW wind farm in Velinga, Sweden; and signed a deal in May 2023 to sell car maker Volvo electricity from Bruzaholm wind farm, which it plans to commission in 2025.
Key figure: Anna Borg, chief executive
Germany’s VSB took strides to progress its Puutionsaari hybrid project last year. The scheme in Finland’s North Ostrobothnia region is set to be made up of 350MW wind and 100MW solar. In 2023, VSK also secured a €211m project finance package to support the 105.6MW repowering of Elster wind farm in Germany; and commissioned 42.6MW project in Poland.
Key figure: Felix Grolman, chief executive
Note: This list was initially published on 8th February 2024 with 26 companies, but we have expanded it following feedback from our readers. Thank you.