Who’s leading in European wind?

The European wind industry has encountered numerous blockades on the road to profitability and success over the last 18 months.


March 31, 2022

The emergence from Covid-19 and subsequent greenflation, as well as ongoing supply chain bottlenecks, were just the start. Now the industry must brace for more instability following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is increasing fuel and energy costs. This is set to cause further disruption for companies.

Then there is the long-term issue of poor permitting causing project pile-ups.

Such difficulties contribute to an industry in “poor health”, according to top turbine manufacturers in a letter to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, earlier this year.

But there is hope in the industry that increased focus on energy independence in Europe will result in more support for renewables in Europe, such as in the joint statement by the EU and US on energy security earlier this week.

After such a turbulent time, it is only right to reflect on the state of wind in Europe in our European Power List 2022, which came out yesterday.

The report shares our ranking of the industry’s 100 most influential people based on their deals, developments and leadership. This year, the EPL also ranks the top 30 business leaders in Europe who are forging connections between wind and energy storage in our debut ‘Storage Stars’ list.

You can access your copy here.

Floating future

The UK held onto its position as the country with the most representatives (33) in the top 100. This is partly due to long-standing factors such as the size of its offshore market and London’s influence as a renewables finance hub.

But the UK has received an additional boost this year as a result of the Crown Estate Scotland’s 25GW ScotWind seabed tender, which included a massive 15GW of floating wind capacity. The winners were announced in mid-January and were highly significant for the global offshore wind industry.

Scotland’s waters are already home to the world’s largest floating wind farm so far: the 50MW Kincardine by Flotation Energy, which became fully operational in October 2021. But ScotWind could play a crucial role in making the floating wind sector commercially competitive. Evolutions such as this counted in the UK’s favour. Overall, the top 100 includes individuals in 14 countries.

The report also features four interviews with industry experts, which tackle issues including the risks and opportunities of floating wind; and how tender processes need to be designed in ways that enable companies to make a profit, not simply to enable governments to procure green energy at the lowest cost.

Firms across the value chain are struggling with rising costs, slow permitting, and high investor demand that is driving up asset prices and increasing the pressure on owners to squeeze additional returns from their assets.

This paints a picture of a European wind industry that is struggling to remain healthy, which could put those all-important net zero targets at risk.

You can hear more on these topics and many others at our Financing Wind Europe conference in London on 26th May.

Click here for the agenda and here to register

Stability in focus

The war in Ukraine has increased the attention on energy stability in Europe.

In an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and strengthen EU energy security, the European Commission has set out a plan to tackle rising energy prices. ‘RePowerEU’ looks to increase the deployment of renewables and speed up electrification. This is a strong sign for the future growth of wind.

But wind is not a quick solution, unless governments across Europe can quickly improve their permitting processes.

Even then, a steep rise in wind installations would also increase pressure on companies to supply and install these turbines. There are no easy answers. We can say with confidence, however, that the era where turbines keep getting cheaper in onshore and offshore wind is currently on hold.

This increases the focus on those who will lead the sector through challenging times – and it is those 130 people we celebrate in the two lists in this report.

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