5 industry trends and market developments

Germany shifts away from community projects in fourth onshore auction

The latest in a series of auctions hosted by Germany’s Federal Network Agency awarded 709MW of new renewable capacity in February 2018. Following the first three onshore auctions which were dominated by community projects, Germany introduced a mandatory permit as a requirement for all bidders for this fourth round. This helped fill in the dooming buildout gap in 2019 and 2020 and improve project realization rates. Positive regulatory developments in German wind hinge on a strong pipeline of permitted projects and the successful formation of a government last month.

Declining costs make way for Indian offshore wind

Offshore wind in India could become a reality as early as this year. The Indian government plans to auction 5 GW of offshore projects in 2018 amidst falling wind prices. The government hopes offshore wind can jump onboard the record low onshore wind prices in the country right now. Since changing to an auction regime, onshore wind has dropped in price by half. Offshore development on the other hand had been put on ice since the offshore policy outline was released in 2015. Both technologies should help meeting the national wind target of 60 GW by March 2022.

Wind makes a comeback in Latin America

Following two years of political and economic uncertainty, wind power developers in Brazil finally bid at auction for the first time since 2015. Latin America’s strongest wind power market seems to recover, with more than 1.4GW of new capacity allocated at the A-4 and A-6 auctions in December and prices dropping by 51% compared to the last auction. Stepping in Brazil’s shoes, neighboring country Argentina is seeing similar successes after the implementation of its new auction scheme RenovAr. Wind power was the dominant technology in Argentina’s January auction rounds.

Good news for US onshore and offshore wind

Despite the threatening interruption of tax reform negotiations, the US wind industry closed 2017 on a good note and started 2018 on a better one. Developers managed to safe harbor 10 GW of wind turbine equipment last year. In January 2018, a new tariff reduced solar installations between 2018 and 2022, giving room for wind to replace lost capacity as an alternative generating source. The US offshore wind industry was blessed with four announcements that will boost the technology in Northeast states of Maryland, Massachusetts and New York.

Wind industry adjusts to rapid developments

Bigger, better, heavier – wind turbines are evolving at rapid speed. Wind technology is safely on its way to become the world’s lowest-cost power source and wind turbine OEMs are pressured to keep up with the pace. Offshore wind turbines have especially advanced with a number of new product announcements coming out of China. Since the latest generation of +4MW turbines faces permitting issues, innovation is said to slow down soon though and new concepts will have to be developed to keep wind energy’s positive momentum.

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