Wind Power Auctioning Bounces Back with 160% Y-o-Y Rise in Q1 2021

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According to the latest GWEC Market Intelligence, nearly 7 GW of wind power capacity was auctioned globally in Q1 2021 – a 160% year-on-year increase compared to Q1 2020, which saw only 2.7 GW auctioned due to a slowdown caused by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Offshore wind accounted for the majority of the new wind power capacity awarded in the first quarter of the year, with 3.9 GW awarded. Emerging offshore wind market US made up 64% of this new awarded capacity thanks to a second offshore wind solicitation in New York of 2.5 GW which was originally scheduled for July 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. The 2.5 GW were awarded to Equinor and BP, and is a clear sign that offshore wind is on the rise in the US.

The remaining offshore wind capacity awarded in Q1 2021 was in China, with 1.4 GW awarded spread over five offshore wind projects in the Fujian province. Although China awarded a mere 93 MW of onshore wind in the first quarter, the world’s largest wind market also announced an onshore wind auction with a parity-based feed-in-tariff totalling nearly 6 GW.

The only other country to award wind power capacity in APAC was India through the country’s Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) Tranche-X Wind ISTS auction. Not only was this auction oversubscribed for the first time since February 2019, but it also saw a record low winning bid of 2.77 INR/kWh (or around $0.0382/kWh) for a 1.2 GW wind energy project, about 7% lower than the previous lowest tariff ever recorded at a SECI auction.

In Europe, nearly 2 GW of onshore wind capacity was awarded through auctions in Spain, Italy, and France, with the auction in France representing the only pure-play wind auction. In addition, a further 6.5 GW of new auction capacity was also announced in Q1 2021 in Europe, including 4.3 GW of offshore wind (all from Poland) and 2.2 GW of onshore wind (700 MW in Italy and 1500 MW in Germany).

No new wind power capacity was awarded in the first quarter in both Africa and Latin America. However, South Africa announced 1.6 GW of new onshore wind capacity after opening the country’s fifth renewable energy bidding window under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP).

“While we didn’t see any records broken in the first quarter of 2021, auctioned wind power capacity more than doubled compared to Q1 2020. It is safe to say that the market is well on its way to recovery, with more than 14 GW of new wind power auction capacity already announced this year” said Feng Zhao, Head of Market Intelligence and Strategy.

“Although it is great to see the market bouncing back, last week’s Net Zero 2050 Roadmap released by the IEA shows that we are nowhere near the levels of new wind power capacity that is necessary to achieve net zero by the middle of this century. Under this roadmap, wind power will need to be the largest source of power in the global energy mix, and to get there, we need to be installing at least 390 GW of new wind power capacity each year over the next decade”, he added.

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