European offshore wind leaders yet to fully translate market promise into brand impact
Utilities have built a strong reputation through headline attracting projects, regardless of how green their portfolio. Emerging technologies such as hydrogen storage struggle to be heard as industry debates rage
The European offshore wind sector may be winning in its bid to reduce the cost of electricity from new projects and attracting interest from policymakers globally, but it’s not yet top of the tree when it comes to brand impact. That’s one of the findings of the 2019 European edition of the Renewables Reputation Index, launched today by Tamarindo Group at WindEurope Offshore.
The Renewables Reputation Index provides an objective examination and ranking of the most impactful brands across the renewable energy ecosystem, assessing the reputational cut-through of more than 1,200 brands online, across social and traditional media and among industry peers.
The latest European edition finds that offshore wind giants still sit behind more established renewables in the battle for brand attention. This is despite lowering costs attracting the interest of policymakers who see offshore wind as a way to build renewables at scale. Strike prices for the latest Contracts for Difference auction in the UK in September came in 30% lower than in 2017 – and as low as £39.65/MWh - with decreased costs witnessed throughout Europe.
In fact, offshore wind specialists are yet to come out on top in the Renewables Reputation Index. The number one brand in 2019, Enel Green Power, said this year that it sees offshore wind as a ‘risky niche’, and only one of the Index’s top five brands relies on offshore wind for core revenues. However, the major offshore wind brands have taken a strong position in the top 10-20 rankings of the Index with 7 included and set to edge ahead into the top five over the next year.
Utilities and advisors are the two big-hitting sectors represented in this year’s European top 100, accounting for almost half of the Index. Taking up a quarter of the listings, utilities have proved the effectiveness of interesting renewables development projects at drawing in headlines. However, there is little correlation between those that have the most renewables in their portfolio and those that get the most attention, demonstrating the power of fossil fuel giants BP and Shell in this sector.
Conversely, taking only four places in the Index, financiers and fund managers are evidently struggling for full recognition of the vital role they play in the growth of global renewables. There is also an absence of energy storage specialists, despite major interest in this developing technology, illustrating how tough it is to be heard while industry debates are taking place.
The composition of this year’s Index also reveals the influence that geography can have on brand impact. Almost three-quarters of the top 100 are from just four countries: France, Germany, Spain and the UK. While a major driver of recent development activity in Europe, Nordic companies are not yet dominating the battle for attention, with just 14 making the 2019 Index.
Adam Barber, Group Managing Director, Tamarindo Group, said: “This Index takes the temperature of brands right across the European renewables ecosystem. It’s a testament to the strength and diversity of the sector that even though Europe’s offshore wind companies are on such a hot streak, they still have work to do to be crowned as Europe’s highest impact renewables brands.
“For organisations facing challenging commercial environments, maintaining a solid reputation and brand profile can make the difference between growth and stagnation. The businesses that feature in the Renewables Reputation Index have done a tremendous amount of work to stand out as thought leaders in the industry, and that takes confidence, creativity, and consistency. We applaud them all and look forward to finding out which trends emerge through 2020.”
Copies of the The Renewables Reputation Index Europe 2019, and further commentary about the market trends it uncovers, are available at stand E-F56 WindEurope Offshore, can be downloaded at www.renewablesreputationindex.com.