According to Recharge News, raw material and logistics inflation, coupled with downward price pressures from auctions, have led to an unsustainable situation where wind manufacturers are selling at a loss. As a result, the industry is warning that it will be unable to deliver Europe’s planned tripling of wind capacity by 2030.
The European Commission’s recent REPowerEU plan, formulated in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, states the continent wishes to increase wind power capacity from 190GW today to 480GW by 2030.
This desire will be complicated by rising metal prices, as the cost of steel, copper, and fuel for the equipment used to install wind turbines increases.
For example, according to the International Energy Agency, the average wind turbine uses approximately 2,900 kilograms (6,393 pounds) of copper per megawatt of installed capacity. This means that the copper used in a 1 MW wind turbine would have cost $16.877 in December of 2019, but now costs $30,000.
Recharge also reported that if Europe wants to triple its wind power capacity, it needs to better support the independence of the supply chain. Currently, some 85 percent of the wind industry’s components are, however, coming from China.
“The energy independence is supported by a supply-chain dependency policy. This a huge risk,” said Nordex chief executive José Luis Blanco. Blanco was not only referring to rare earths but said “normal things” such as metallic shafts in turbines, 95% of which are sourced in China.
Additionally, Enercon’s new chief executive Jürgen Zeschky went even further, saying “all European onshore wind manufacturers are in trouble.”
Over the past eight years, the cost was the only driver for developments, with low levelized costs of energy and low turbine prices driving the whole business, he told WindEurope 2022.
Zeschky continued to state “We have reached a low-cost base, but at the price of outsourcing to low-cost countries. If you look at Europe and Germany, we are constantly losing jobs in the industry by relocating to other places.”
Supporters of wind and solar energy often crow about the falling cost of wind and solar, but they never talk about the fact that these falling prices were only achieved because the manufacturing of “green” technologies has shifted to China, which has no qualms about polluting the environment or using slave labor for manufacturing solar panels.