Europe's wind sector 'will have to consolidate'

IBERIA: Emerging markets will prosper in 2012 but the European renewables sector will be forced to consolidate, accordingt to the Ernst and Young renewables country attractiveness index.

While China, the US and Germany stay top of the index, southern Europe has lost its appeal for investors and has been hit by cost cutting policy decisions.

Spain, the world’s most attractive market five years ago, and Portugal have slid down the ranking following recent moratoriums on premiums for new plants.

"Given the combination of overcapacity, the erosion of domestic markets and the capital coming out of the east we are bound to see further Asian acquisitions," according to Ben Warren, lead energy and environmental finance analyst at Ernst and Young.

Warren predicts that "Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean companies looking to break into the European supply chain" will follow the example of China Three Gorges which recently acquired a 21% stake in Energias de Portugal.

This new source of capital could help relaunch wind power development in southern Europe before 2020 even without feed-in tariffs, Warren predicts.