Honestly, we have struggled to find a suitable title for this Episode. We thought of and then abandoned catchier titles such as “Withering Wind”, “Have we reached peak wind?” and even “Wind – WTF”. Finally, we settled for a more optimistic headline.
Still, after a great decade, the Wind industry is facing serious head winds. After 2020 and 2021: record years – almost 100GW (incl 10% – 20% offshore), 2022 saw the market shrink down to 77GW. Dominated by China, US, EU, Brazil. Wind is now four times smaller than solar.
Struggling OEMs, social license, slow grid connections, supply chain inflation, botched auctions, write downs, rising interest rates, local content requirements… the list goes on and on.
Wind trends seem to have massively decoupled from the thriving duo Solar + Battery. How deep is the Wind Energy crisis? 1TW has been reached and there are massive plans that don’t seem to correspond to the current health of the supply chain. Have we reached peak wind?
We bring on our friend Rosie Barnes, one of the top wind observers in the world, and we try to categorize each issue, analysing which are cyclical and which are structural.
Can we endlessly grow the size of the Turbines? Not only from a technical point of view, but also from a logistical aspect and a financial perspective.
Is there a real Chinese challenge?
We tackle all those points in a heated conversation where opinions are hard to reconcile. We agree only on a few things: the race towards bigger sizes must stop. OEMs must regroup and accept to pause any innovation, deliver longer series, and reconstitute their profitability.
The wind industry needs to have a hard look at itself so as to re-emerge stronger in the coming years, as it will transform itself from a growth industry to a value industry.
AXPO, a leading clean energy trader and producer, is supporting the show
We also partnership with Wind Europe, an association promoting the use of wind power in Europe. Based in Brussels it has over 600 members, which are active in over 50 countries
Rosemary Barnes is an engineer with a PhD in composite materials and two decades of experience developing clean energy technologies. Her experience in the wind industry ranges from academic research to manufacturing where she spent months of each year in wind turbine blade factories and climbing wind turbines to get to know wind energy technology up close. She has since founded Pardalote, a boutique consulting service providing advice on energy transition technologies including wind farm owners suffering from problems with their turbines. She is also the owner of the YouTube channel Engineering with Rosie and co-host of the Uptime Wind Energy podcast, through which she educates and excites her audience about renewable energy technologies and how the engineering development process works.