Europe is experiencing an energy crisis as gas prices have spiked. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been at the heart of the current energy crisis, as many countries relied on Russia for their natural gas supply. The effects of this issue have been increasingly felt as winter advances.

For many, renewable energies seem like the solution to this problem. In the UK, wind energy is the second most significant power source. But could Europe’s wind energy industry also be heading for a crisis?

Europe has been at the forefront of developing, building, and repairing wind turbine blades and other components for many years. Many top wind turbine component manufacturers are European-owned and operated, but now these companies face immense difficulties.

As countries globally are chasing clean energy goals of reduced net zero carbon emissions by 2050, there is a more significant push towards building and repairing wind turbine blades. Unfortunately, this push also puts additional pressure on European wind turbine component manufacturers.

Unfortunately, many rival Chinese companies have been emerging in the market. These businesses often offer wind turbine components much cheaper than their European counterparts. As a result, many countries are looking towards China’s more affordable manufacturing capabilities as they chase net zero carbon emission goals.

Adding to the difficulties of this complicated situation are supply chain issues. These troubles began during the Covid-19 pandemic, and their legacy continues today.

One European manufacturer, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, recently reported an annual loss of €940 million, which resulted in over 2,900 jobs being cut from the company. And Siemens Gamesa is not the only business facing such losses. Other European manufacturing companies are reporting similar difficulties.

The race to make bigger, better, and cheaper wind turbines are on, and many European manufacturers are struggling to compete against rivals in China. So now countries and governments across Europe are facing a dilemma. Do they wait for European manufacturers to catch up, potentially meaning more expensive parts and prolonged reliance on fossil fuels, or do they buy from China?

Of course, buying cheaper wind turbines from China also means European countries would leave themselves vulnerable. Moreover, continued supply chain troubles and tense international relations could threaten wind turbines’ availability.

One way that wind turbine operators are attempting to stabilise wind power is to extend the use of existing farms. A wind turbine’s lifespan is 20 years, but experts believe this could be lengthened with innovative wind turbine repair and inspection procedures.

Countries will need to overcome wind energy troubles to secure clean energy goals. Both innovative technologies and more staffing are essential for building and repairing wind turbine blades and keeping wind power production up.

Industry specialists Altitec offer hands-on and expert-led training opportunities. Those interested in leading the renewable energy revolution can learn and work with the wind turbine blade repairing giant Altitec.

The Altitec Team