GWEC secretary-general Steve Sawyer predicts what will happen in wind’s key markets this year
Looking back at 2016, it’s easier to come up with a list of bad things that happened than good: Brexit, Trump and the rise of post-truth politics; the Syrian disaster, and the subsequent European bungling of the influx of refugees; and China and Russia flexing their military muscles on the borders of Europe and in the South China Sea.
Closer to home for wind we have the Brazilian political and economic disaster leading to zero auctions for new capacity; continued increase in the outrageous curtailment in China; and corruption at the highest level in South Africa trying to kill the renewables industry just as it starts to bloom. The list could be much longer.
But there is plenty to be positive about as well: record low onshore prices in Morocco (less than $0.03/kWh); 12 months ago in Argentina we had nothing — now there’s a solid 1.4GW pipeline, which will be added to in 2017; despite the politics, the US industry is arguably healthier than it’s ever been, with record capacity under construction; the Australian market has come back to life; and amid the general European malaise, offshore prices have cratered in the past six months. Offshore wind’s prospects are now brighter than ever, not least because prices make it likely that the industry will expand outside of Europe in earnest in the coming years.
So what’s in store for 2017?