2012 Was Good Year for Wind Energy, 2013 Less Optimistic

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Wind energy annual reports in Europe and the United States agree that 2012 was a good year for the wind energy industry, but 2013 poses different kinds of difficulties.

Julie Wernau, reporting in The Chicago Tribune, wrote: In the U.S. overall, nearly two-thirds of the more than 13,000 MW of new wind power in 2012 came online in the fourth quarter to take advantage of a wind production tax credit that expired at the end of 2012. Ultimately, the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour tax credit was extended for one year as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal signed in the New Year. While the tax credit generally is reserved for wind farms that are generating electricity, the extender package allows wind farms under construction in 2013 to take advantage of the tax credit.

Still, industry watchers expect 2013 to be a difficult year for wind.  In 2012, in light of the tax credit’s looming expiration, developers stopped placing orders for wind-related machinery for projects that were to come online in 2013 . The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said its members are receiving orders and calls now for equipment that will take six to nine months to deliver. The lobbying group would not provide its projections for installations in 2013. Some experts have forecasted a drop of as much as 75 percent, along with massive layoffs.

For full details of Julie’s story, click here

In Germany, new wind energy installations in 2012 increased by 1,000 turbines to some 23,000 turbines, and the accumulated output rose by 20 percent to 31,300 megawatts, equal to the electricity production of 40 large coal-fired power plants. But the global outlook is less promising that Germany’s stable performance, Deutsche Welle reported this month.

Thorsten Herdan, head of VDMA Power Solutions, the lobby group for German machine and plant engineering, said: “Germany is like a rock in the current turbulence that the global market is facing.” During 2013, he says, he expects the global market to shrink by 10 percent.

Among the reasons, according to Herdan, are the poor outlook in the US market and an increasing sealing-off of the Chinese market for foreign manufacturers. The VDMA expects sales in the US to plummet by more than half compared to 2012, while new installations in China could stay stable at 14,000 megawatts. There’s a current overcapacity in the worldwide industry, and that is likely to set off a downward spiral in prices.

Click here for the DW report.

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