S&P Global Market Intelligence | Wind developers in Europe plan upgrades to ‘reset the clock’ on aging assets

In Germany, the largest onshore wind market on the continent, gigawatts of existing capacity is set to lose its 20-year subsidies starting this year. Because repowering a project there is similar to seeking permits for a new development, owners face the risk of lawsuits, which have grown in recent years and put a damper on further wind capacity growth.

But some countries are taking steps to remove roadblocks for repowering and many developers are meanwhile moving ahead with projects to upgrade their assets, seeing a range of benefits in repurposing existing sites.

In the U.K., 20 projects with a combined capacity of 665 MW have applied to either extend sites with additional turbines or replace existing machines with larger models, according to data published Aug. 25 by Cornwall Insight, a consultancy.

The time taken to obtain planning permission and grid agreements for new build assets can be lengthy, and developers and project owners understand this all too well. Repowering assets is, therefore, an attractive option.

James Brabben, Wholesale Manager

S&P Global Market Intelligence