April 3, 2019 / 4:19 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Vestas chairman expects some countries to reinstate wind power subsidies

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By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

COPENHAGEN, April 3 (Reuters) - The chairman of Vestas , one of the world’s biggest wind turbine makers, said he expected some countries to reinstate subsidies for wind power projects as governments come under pressure to build more renewable energy capacity.

Wind power businesses around the world have faced margin pressure as governments phase out subsidies and move towards more competitive contract tenders.

“I know politicians are planning to reinstate subsidies, because they are under pressure to build more renewable capacity quickly,” Vestas Chairman Bert Nordberg told Reuters.

He declined to say which countries he was referring to.

Some European countries, most notably Germany and the Netherlands, have attracted zero-subsidy bids from wind project developers, putting intense pressure on turbine makers as the industry weans itself off government support.

But while wind has become competitive with conventional power in many countries, government subsidies will be a reality for now, Nordberg said in an interview.

“It will be a long time before subsidies disappear.”

The European Environment Agency said in November last year that the EU’s progress towards increasing the use of renewable energy was slowing, putting its ability to meet its 2020 and 2030 targets at risk.

New wind power installations in Europe dropped by almost one-third last year to 11.7 gigawatt, mostly due to more competitive contract tenders, industry association WindEurope says.

Wind energy accounted for 14 percent of EU’s electricity consumption last year, up from 12 percent the year before.

Vestas vies with Siemens Gamesa to lead the global wind farm sector.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Evans

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