Rush to invest in buoyant Spanish wind market presents challenges for operators finds Onyx Insight

Fast-growing Spanish wind businesses must take proactive steps to manage their expanding and mixed portfolios smartly, or the sector will face a difficult decade of growing pains, as inefficiencies impact investor returns and slow the rate of potential growth, finds predictive data analytics and engineering experts Onyx Insight.
Rush to invest in buoyant Spanish wind market presents challenges for operators finds Onyx Insight
Courtesy of NREL

The Spanish government is raising the level of ambition for wind, pushing for 22 GW of new installed capacity by 2030 as part of its National Energy & Climate Plan. Medium-sized companies, including private equity/pension funds, and insurers, are rapidly building out their renewable energy holdings through energetic M&A activity to rebalance their portfolios. Spanish onshore wind acquisitions were the highest in Europe in 2020, with over 2.4 GW changing hands. The success of these projects depends in large part on how successfully these businesses adjust to managing expanding levels of assets – and larger amounts of data.

Onyx Insight believes that the transition to operating a large, mixed fleet with legacy assets poses a potential stumbling block. Emerging businesses, challenger brands and new market entrants may lack the experience and skillsets of more established players and could face diseconomies of scale unless they deploy specialist digital tools to unlock a new, smarter approach to operations and maintenance (O&M), saving up to 30 percent from their O&M budgets. Onyx points out that repowering and life extension for existing assets will play a leading role in increasing the contribution of wind generation to the Spanish energy mix, as Spain’s existing fleet ages. The business’ experience in other key markets globally, such as the US and UK, has led it to warn that Spanish operators will need to start thinking about data-driven life extension strategies now to realise optimal returns in the future.

“The rush to invest in a buoyant market risks leaving new owners and operators exposed to greater risk” said Bruce Hall, CEO, Onyx Insight. “Drawing on the expertise of independent service providers with a global footprint will ensure that Spanish wind operators can identify and mitigate growing pains by building insights from AI-enabled data analysis backed with engineering consultancy into their short- and long-term planning.”

Jose Morais, Regional Manager, Mediterranean and Latin America, Onyx Insight, added that the Spanish wind sector is among the most established globally, but it is still growing rapidly, building on its robust local supply chain and skills. As the market continues to change and a new wave of medium sized entities start to mature, taking advantage of third-party expertise to enable efficient asset management will lessen growing pains and ensure that assets continue to deliver substantial returns.

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