Absorb the shock of the financial crisis. Find ways to pass the Cape difficult without abandoning its margins, its projects. It was one of the main themes of the annual Conference of the actors in the wind energy, the Ewec, which is held mid-March in Marseille. Since September, and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the players in the sector are concerned. The drying out of the credit was penalized a sector that has as much need for the support of financial markets that public policies to ensure its development. "The renewable energy sector is young and very few actors generate enough"free cash flow"to meet their needs for investment", said HSBC in a research note. In the wind for example, a project not is generally funded to 20 by own funds. The rest is based on the debt repayment is provided by the redemption price guaranteed of the electricity produced. The financial crisis destroyed this beautiful building. Developments in solar and wind projects are are slowed, lack of money. "In the United States, off-plan stimulus could attend reductions of 20 to 40 of volumes of facilities the objectives." "The credit committees more trouble accepting applications for funding of independent players or medium-sized developers," says David Corchia, CEO of EDF Energies Nouvelles. Suddenly, the price of wind turbines begins to decline. HSBC, the manufacturers in the sector should grow zero in 2009.
Another change in weight, the banks no longer wish to work in syndication. No question of taking only the decision to finance a solar or wind, Park and then look for other institutions to complete the operation. Banks now operate in "club-deal", that is, they are at the outset to three or four to finance an operation. At the time, delays are much longer. The phase of active negotiation with the banks can take six to eight months when he needed three a year ago.
More selective, banks finally favoured projects of the larger players. In the wind, they promote equipment proven on the field. The time is more innovation and inventiveness.
In this difficult context, the present actors in the United States are best placed. They have a size advantage: the Obama plan. The legislative measures in place on this occasion (grants program up to 30 of the cost of a project, the investment tax credits, guaranteed loan...) should give a breath of oxygen to the sector.
European countries have adopted a simple strategy: that everyone for itself. "We are witnessing a kind of nationalization of the financing of renewable energy, that is, the major banks of European countries working more with operators of their own nationality", explains Thierry Lepercq, CEO of Solairedirect. The choice of the German institutions, Spanish or French now incorporate political parameters. And the ability of an investment to create jobs seems to weigh heavier than in the past. It may well determine the motivation of the banks to finance some projects, where many of them are under perfusion of the State. For the French wind sector, this trend is not necessarily good news. There is no French industrialist of weight in this area, which limits the benefits in terms of jobs.