Enel has put a 205MW project on hold in Colombia after long-running protests, and it is not the only company facing such unrest. We look at whether the government can improve consultation before it's too late.
2014 Review of the Year
It has been a busy year for wind. Don’t believe us? Then cast your eye over our month-by-month guide to the biggest stories of 2014:
January: The year started with howls of dismay among the Danish public over proposals by Goldman Sachs to invest $1.5bn in offshore developer Dong Energy. The plan took the coalition government to the brink of collapse but was, eventually, approved.
February: Spanish energy company Acciona this month shed light on the impact of harsh changes to subsidies on Spain’s wind market as it reported a loss of almost €2bn in 2013. Spanish wind has been paralysed since the government revealed the plan in mid-2013.
March: In other subsidy controversy, Enercon said in March that it planned to freeze all investment in Germany over government plans to reform the country’s Renewable Energy Sources Act. The fears have since subsided and reforms were passed in August.
April: It is no surprise that the UK’s Conservative Party opposes onshore wind, but it was still a shock that the party confirmed plans for an amnesty on new UK onshore wind farms if it wins the general election in May 2015. Wind will play a key role in UK energy debate.
May: On 14th May, the €2.8bn financing closed for the 600MW Gemini project in the Dutch North Sea, becoming the largest ever project-financed offshore wind farm. Canadian firm Northland Power owns a 60% stake in the project, which is scheduled to complete in 2017.
June: The board of directors of French manufacturer Alstom brought an end to the battle for its energy assets by recommending a €12.35bn deal with General Electric. This will include the creation of an offshore wind joint venture between the parties, following in the footsteps of MHI Vestas and the tie-up between Areva and Gamesa.
July: India’s Suzlon, the world’s fifth-largest turbine make, brought an end to long-running debt problems by agreeing a restructuring plan with creditors in July. We followed India with interest this year after the election of pro-wind prime minister Narendra Modi in May.
August: There was further subsidy controversy this year in Australia as the wind industry blasted prime minister Tony Abbott’s plans to hack back the country’s renewable energy target. Infigen managing director Miles George called the plan “economic vandalism”.
September: Pathfinder Renewable and Magum Energy set out plans for one of the year’s most interesting projects, with their $8bn proposal to power 1.2million Los Angeles homes using a 2.1GW wind farm with a 525-mile transmission line. At the moment, the chance of it actually happening look about as realistic as a Hollywood smile.
October: US billionaire Donald Trump claimed victory in his latest battle against a wind farm as Clare Country Council in Ireland rejected plans for a 27MW scheme. Trump said the project would harm his planned €45m investment in his Doonbeg golf resort 4km away.
November: Solar developer Sun Edison announced a $2.4bn acquisition of fellow US firm First Wind to enable it to expand into wind. The deal is set to conclude in early 2015. Sun Edison is also seeking to use First Wind to help it expand in international markets.
December: Exciting news in the emerging African market as the developers of the 310MW Lake Turkana project revealed they plan to start construction in February. KP&P Africa and Aldwych International are leading on what is set to be one of Africa’s largest wind farms.
We look forward to an equally packed 2015.