With the results of the major utilities currently being published, it’s been interesting to take a look at how those with significant wind portfolios have stood up.
SSE announced earlier this week that its favourable yearly results were due in the main to strong figures from its wind energy portfolio. E.ON made a similar claim following strong Q1 figures earlier in the month.
It’s a change in fortune for many utilities that historically warned of the huge costs in developing wind energy.
In the case of SSE, the business has significantly benefitted from installed capacity that is starting to come online, with Credit Suisse analysts expecting a further 500MW to become available in 2013.
But not all wind portfolios perform consistently though, and that’s one reason for the ever-increasing importance on technology solutions to enhance predictability.
And, in the interests of balance, projects that have hit problems can cause enough fallout to damage group profits – as witnessed by Vattenfall recently with repairs to cabling at Thanet denting the performance of the renewables division.
Overall though, despite some others in the sector suffering, most notably the European and US manufacturers, the utilities are starting to see the return on their investment that they had originally been so nervous about.
Perhaps this may encourage the utilities to take more development risks on their balance sheets. With the investment community still proving reluctant to get heavily involved in wind, well developed, securely backed projects would do the industry’s reputation a lot of good.
And of course, good results from the utilities should be of long term encouragement to the manufacturers – as long as wind performs, then order books will stay full.
Four Republican congressmen have called for a halt to US offshore wind projects because of unsubstantiated claims blaming the industry for whale deaths. But this obvious misinformation can still be a threat for the growth of the industry.