EU safeguards increase wind sector cost pressure: WindEurope

WindEurope, the voice of the European wind energy sector, believes the confirmation of EU steel safeguard measures for a further three years will add to cost pressure for wind turbines and component manufacturers.

The sector uses mainly heavy plate for the fabrication of steel wind towers and non-grain-oriented electrical steel for motors and generators.

“Steel prices have increased dramatically over the past year,” WindEurope chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu says in a note seen by Kallanish. “In some cases they have doubled. Steel is the single most important raw material for the European wind industry. Higher steel prices increase the costs of making towers, gearboxes, nacelles, transformers, and offshore foundations. Last week’s decision to extend steel safeguard measures is unhelpful for a rapid and cost-effective energy transition to renewables.”

WindEurope believes that in the medium-term additional costs may be passed down the supply chain to developers, though this will make it more difficult to deliver continued reductions in electricity prices.

“The economic sustainability of the European wind industry is at risk. Higher costs mean less capital available to invest in state-of-the-art manufacturing and research & development. Under-investment in these areas could cause the European industry to lose the global race for technology leadership in wind energy,” Wind Europe comments.

Emanuele Norsa Italy