Global wind trends for 2013 and beyond

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EcoGeneration — May/June 2013

Following his keynote presentation at the New Zealand Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition in late March 2013, Global Wind Energy Council Secretary-General Steve Sawyer spoke to EcoGeneration’s Melanie Ryan about the challenges and growth predictions facing the international wind market over the next five years.

Worldwide, the wind energy sector is expected to undergo reasonably rapid changes in market conditions in the five-year period between 2012 and 2016.

Global Wind Energy Council Secretary-General Steve Sawyer says that a number of critical issues will crop up in key markets across the globe during this time. Mr Sawyer nominates one of these issues as being the difficulty of predicting outcomes for the United States (US), a large wind market but also the largest variable within the international industry.

“The US had a record year in 2012, but the re-authorisation of the primary federal support program for wind was delayed, resulting in a dearth of orders at the beginning of 2013,” Mr Sawyer explains. “[Success in this market] is a question of how quickly and how much the US market is going to recover in 2013.”

Mr Sawyer notes that policy is notoriously fickle in the US, and tied to a short-term, highly-politicised Federal House of Representatives. “US Federal Budget discussions don’t affect wind energy as immediately as they do the solar industry, but until they are resolved and the US figures out a way to make economic plans that last longer than a year or two, that’s always going to be the big variable.”