China’s Wind Repowering Market to Boom Post 2023

China’s wind repowering market is expected to take off from 2023, with more than 21 GW of turbine fleets expected to be repowered over the next 10 years

China's Wind Repowering Market

According to a new report, China’s wind repowering market is expected to take off from 2023. With more than 21 gigawatts (GW) of China’s wind turbine fleet expected to be repowered over the next 10 years (2019-2028).

Repowering refers to the complete dismantling and replacement of old wind turbines at the original wind site. Wind farms older than 15 years are generally ideal candidates for repowering as the operation and maintenance cost is 50 percent higher than that of wind farms younger than five years.

While China’s near-term repowering activity is limited, repowering demand should accelerate post-2023, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of 83 percent the report by research and rating agency Wood Mackenzie has revealed. This is mainly driven by the aging of the installed base as the country’s wind market experienced tremendous growth during the 2007-2010 timeframe.

Wood Mackenzie consultant Kevin Han said that “there is an early mover opportunity for forward-thinking OEMs and service providers able to develop repowering solutions for at-risk turbines prior to this rapid acceleration in demand.

“Despite the potential, the market is likely to pay little attention to the repowering market in the near term due to the limited capacity of aged wind turbine fleet, lack of supporting policies and near-term focus on fulfilment due to expiring FITs.”

According to the report, a second driver of the repowering market boom is the declining availability of good wind resources for new wind projects. Most new projects after 2023 will be in regions with wind speeds below 6.5 metre per second (m/s) and have an internal rate of return (IRR) of no more than 10 percent. Repowering at 9-10m/s sites could provide an IRR of over 15 percent. As subsidy cuts take effect and the new-build market slows, developers will increasingly focus on the repowering market for new investments.

State-owned asset owners (SOEs) are expected to be key players in the repowering market, as they hold more than 83 percent of operating wind assets. SOE exposure to aging wind assets will strengthen their motivation to engage in repowering activities with an eye towards enhanced cash flow and higher profits.

“SOEs will dominate the market, commanding a repowering market share in excess of 96 percent in 2028. The remaining non-SOE segment is mainly composed of private companies, which are likely to exit the market when their turbines retire due to low-risk tolerance and lack of subsidies,” Han added.

While there is a lack of policies to address challenges to the feasibility and profitability of repowering activities, the report sees significant profits to be made from wind repowering and expects policy measures to be released in the 2020s.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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