Thursday, August 3, 2023

"There Is A Financial Crisis Brewing In Offshore Wind Energy"

Our thoughts, June 26:
Siemens Energy Shares Got Rocked On Friday As Wind Turbine Problems Persist
....We haven't had much to say about the wind business, either manufacturers or wind farm operators since their returns dropped below those offered by regulated utilities. If the U.S. offshore wind farms ever get started and then, if they can make any money we'll be back to them 

And from OilPrice, August 2:

  • The costs associated with U.S. offshore wind projects have risen by 57% since 2021 due to inflation in components and labor costs, as well as rising interest rates, leading to a large number of canceled or renegotiated deals.
  • The recent cancellations of major offshore wind projects have erased billions of dollars in planned spending and put at least 9.7 additional gigawatts of offshore wind projects in the U.S. at risk.
  • Despite the financial crisis in offshore wind energy, the Biden administration is persevering with its goal of achieving 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.

A financial crisis is unfolding in the offshore wind power industry. The ultra-efficient and reliable form of clean energy production is an essential component of all of the world’s possible decarbonization pathways, but soaring inflation costs have undercut the sector’s growth and left major projects dead in the water just when their output is most needed. A major policy shift is in order, but the public and private sector are at loggerheads as to who should have to pay for the increasingly expensive development plans. 

The massive scale of offshore wind turbines – which stand taller than skyscrapers – plus the strength and consistency of wind at sea – make offshore wind a no-brainer for the global green energy transition. Offshore wind-power potential off the coast of the mainland United States alone is estimated at 4.2 terawatts – nearly four times the entire capacity of all types of generation operating today. It’s an unfathomable amount of energy. But there’s a big problem: offshore wind currently costs about two to five times more than onshore wind.

“The expense associated with a typical US offshore project, before bonus tax credits related to the Inflation Reduction Act, has increased by 57% since 2021,” Bloomberg recently reported, citing figures from BloombergNEF. “Inflation in the cost of components and labor explain about 40% of that and the rest is tied to rising interest rates.” This means that any developers who signed long-term development contracts before the sharp increase in costs must now either re-negotiate their deals or walk away from them entirely. “Energy coming from these projects is desperately needed,” Helene Bistrom, the head of Vattenfall’s wind business, was recently quoted by Fortune. But, she continued, “with new market conditions, it doesn’t make sense to continue.”

This month has seen a disastrous number of canceled and abandoned offshore wind deals which “erased billions of US dollars in planned spending” in the final week of July alone, according to Fortune....