Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wind power deployment facing a ...er... headwind (groan)

Wind power projects in Europe have a current installed capacity of 0.6 GW, however plans are afoot for around 54 GW of wind projects. Europe as a whole is more accepting of the idea that global warming gasses must be reduced, and they see infrastructure investment (e.g. wind energy projects) as the solution. This is opposed to GW Bush's stance that apparently reduction in global warming emissions would mean loss of american jobs, I suppose he's being short-sighted to his fossil fuel industry roots (there's a reason I call him President Enron, with Vice President Halliburton and Secretary of State Chevron) ... but, installing wind energy systems would mean new jobs.

Blustery Conditions for European Wind Power New Energy Finance White Paper Outlines Difficulties in European Wind Power Market (renewableEnergyAccess.com, July 22, 2005) with supporting data from New Energy Finance

The article goes through the wind energy plans in europe:

The most ambitious countries are Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, targeting 25GW, 9.1GW and 6GW respectively.

and the costs and financing issues:

So where is the bottleneck? An analysis of projects under development and national targets reveals that specific sites have been identified for 32.5GW (59%) of the proposed developments. Of those sites which have already been identified, and in some cases for which permits awarded, no less than 29.7GW (92%) have yet to secure financing. That translates into an immediate funding requirement of EUR 49.4bn (USD 62.4bn).

One of the reasons for the difficulties experienced by as-yet-unfunded projects is that offshore permitting is a lengthy process involving multiple authorities - industry sources claim as many as 14 different agencies can be involved in a single project. Streamlining of procedures is being actively tackled by British, Danish, Swedish governments.

Another concern is that the offshore services companies required to erect towers and lay cables may have insufficient capacity for the huge volume of work ahead.

The real problem, however, according to Ian Temperton of Climate Change Capital, is that as they stand, the projects are just not financially viable:

"If the projects make economic sense the funding is available", he says. "There is no shortage of experience amongst the major lenders and equity providers in financing onshore wind."

So, while promising, it's frustrating to see the roadblocks. Or should that be wind breaks?


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