Brussels Unveils Measures to Support Struggling Wind Turbine Manufacturers
Posted 25/10/2023 14:29
The European Commission recently introduced a series of non-binding initiatives aimed at bolstering the continent's wind turbine manufacturers, who are facing mounting challenges from lower-priced competitors abroad. Despite Europe's significant role in the wind power industry, the region's turbine producers have been grappling with operational losses, necessitating intervention to ensure the industry's sustained growth.
During the announcement of the wind power industry action plan, Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič emphasized the importance of upholding wind power as a European success story, both in terms of energy and industry. While Europe has successfully maintained a substantial market share in the wind industry, the sector is currently facing adversity owing to rising commodity prices, increasing interest rates, and fierce competition from international markets.
To address these challenges, the European Commission plans to streamline permitting procedures and provide additional financial support through the bloc's banks. Notably, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will extend de-risking guarantees to wind projects, facilitating the acceleration of wind farm development.
Furthermore, the Commission's proposed overhaul of capacity auctions aims to safeguard Europe from external competitors, particularly those from China. The plan recommends the adoption of "non-price award criteria" in the selection of qualified contractors for participating in auctions, focusing on environmental, sustainability, and cybersecurity standards. The goal is to promote the procurement of higher value-added products and encourage the growth of a competitive and innovative wind manufacturing industry within Europe.
While the proposal offers various strategies, including potential local content regulations, it places the responsibility on EU countries to determine the appropriate course of action based on the Commission's guidance. However, it's important to note that the inclusion of "qualitative criteria" in the decision-making process will not be mandatory, signaling a deliberate effort to balance industry competition beyond mere pricing factors.
This recent policy package from the European Commission represents a significant step in supporting the wind power industry's resilience against global competition, emphasizing the need for sustainable growth and innovative manufacturing practices within the European market.