The Polish exodus
Don’t be fooled.
Despite the recent horse-trading within continental Europe, there’s more beef to the emerging wind energy markets than one might initially expect.
And while the integrity and ethics of economies such as Romania have recently been called into question – inciting a furious backlash from key political figures – it’s the Polish economy that now appears to be falling under the industry’s gaze.
However, much to the relief of Polish food standards industry, this time it’s nothing to do with issues associated with a contaminated supply chain.
No. Rather, on this particular occasion the reason that Poland’s found itself thrust into the spotlight is entirely energy related – as first Dong Energy and then Iberdrola sell off large swathes of their domestic wind farm portfolios.
In the case of Dong, the business has sold off three wind farms and a strong development pipeline, that represented its entire onshore wind energy assets, to PGE and Energa.
While Iberdrola has rapidly offloaded its portfolio, again selling its entire domestic wind base, amounting to five operational wind farms to the same buyers.
Put in pure numbers that means that almost 400MW of operational Polish wind energy has changed hands within less than two weeks.
No wonder it's got people talking.
However, without looking behind the headlines, there's a danger of reading too much into this. And in doing so, putting the Polish market under undue scrutiny at a time when it's quite the opposite that's required.
Put simply, both Dong Energy and Iberdrola's respective divestures have been driven by more than local economics.
In Dong's case, that means eyeing up a possible Danish stock market listing, improving the state if its balance sheet and looking to increase its focus on offshore wind.
For Iberdrola, it's more a case of streamlining existing operations and placing an increasing focus on more pressing market issues, in Spain.
That's all well and good for the two respective businesses but it has presented an interesting political and commercial dynamic for Poland. A market that's already battling with the complexities of grid hook ups and a lack of clear domestic policy for the future.
Whatever the case, it's not stopping due diligence taking place on planned prospective sites and on the ground, momentum continues, albeit at a steady pace.
For many, that's in part because the country offers a good stepping stone into Finland and the rapidly expanding Scandinavian markets, as much as anything else.
Sure, over 400MW may have changed hands. But that's as much an indicator of the ongoing energy evolution, as it is a question mark over Poland.