Recharge asked leading industry figures what their predictions were for the wind and solar markets during 2014. On the whole, they foresee a return to higher rates of growth and a greater availability of finance. However, political uncertainty continues to cast a long shadow over the sector. Here are their edited responses:
What do you expect for the wind industry in 2014?
I expect substantial recovery in the US and continued growth in the major emerging markets, which have been driving growth for several years.
What political challenges is the industry likely to face?
They vary widely from place to place, but overall, I would say policy uncertainty is challenge number one.
What will be the key macroeconomic changes? The structure of project financing has changed substantially, and that will continue, with a move away from commercial bank lending to private equity, institutional investors and state banks providing more finance, and commercial finance less. Also, we will no doubt begin to see changes in electricity markets to account for the unique characteristics of wind (and solar PV), which could be a boost, or could be a problem. Likely both.
STEVE SAWYER | Secretary-general, Global Wind Energy Council