Access to good quality and cost-competitive steel is a key pillar to the success of the European wind power industry. It enables the industry to compete effectively both against conventional energy sources and in third country wind energy markets.
WindEurope is alarmed therefore by the decision to render the existing safeguard measures on steel imports even more restrictive. This is the result of an implementing regulation published on 27 September, which enters into force today.
Limiting the annual increase of steel import quota volumes to 3% (instead of 5%) will damage the European wind industry’s ability to source optimally, undermining the industry’s cost and quality competitiveness.
With the implementation of this increase many of the quotas of specific importance to the European wind industry (covering sheets of non-grain-oriented electrical steel plus non-alloy and other alloy quarto plates) will be on course to fill.
From an administrative point of view, the implementation of the change from 1 October sees the existing quotas – which were already subjected to the planned 5% increase – reduced in size retroactively, undermining business certainty.
The European wind industry supports a strong and profitable European steel industry, which remains the wind industry’s principal supplier of steel. Nevertheless, we rely on imports of steel from third countries when European manufacturers are not able to supply us with the quality and scale required under our project delivery timelines.
The tightened safeguard measures will have a negative impact on the 300,000 people working in the wind industry in Europe. But they will also hit the sales of European steel manufacturers, for whom we are by far the biggest clients.
We call once more for consideration of the needs of the whole wind industry supply chain, rather than a threat of serious injury to the steel sector that has not been convincingly demonstrated.