27 October 2020
Coherent trade policies are key to a competitive EU wind supply chain delivering the Green Deal
Today the EU is home to a world-leading wind energy supply chain. More than 248 factories across Europe produce the components we put in our turbines and 5 of the top 10 leading wind turbine manufacturers are EU-based. This translates into €37bn to EU GDP, over €8bn in goods and services exports every year and 300,000 jobs.
The EU wind supply chain largely relies on European suppliers. But global supply chains are also vital to the industry’s efficiency and flexibility in meeting project and installation deadlines and keeping its competitive edge against foreign competitors. These global supply chains along with technological developments, such as bigger turbines, have helped drive down wind energy costs by 50% over a decade to the benefit of end-consumers.
Policymakers want these cost reductions to continue; for the EU wind industry to continue to deliver on jobs and growth in Europe; and for European companies to compete successfully in third country markets, despite the increasingly generous state-backed finance our Asian competitors offer.
However, the wind industry is being negatively impacted by EU trade defence measures that reduce the competitiveness of manufacturing in Europe. These measures increase the costs of raw materials such as steel and glass fibre used in EU turbines. The Commission will now look into anti-dumping measures on wind towers.
According to WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson: “Anti-dumping duties on imported towers would have the biggest impact on EU wind industry competitiveness of any trade defence measure yet. This is because towers make up a large share of wind turbine CAPEX (more than 20% for an onshore turbine). Other trade defence measures impacting our industry concern raw materials; this would be the first to potentially apply to a component, and an essential one at that.”
He continued: “There is an urgent need to consider the impact of EU trade defence measures on the European wind industry and its capacity to deliver a made-in-Europe energy transition and to remain competitive globally. It is high time for the EU to work out a strategic and sound industrial policy for renewables and their supply chains with coherent trade, climate & energy and state aid policies.”