Thursday, 31 July 2014

FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE


Last week the Danish Energy Association announced onshore wind was the lowest cost form of electricity generation in the country. The Energy Minister said this was due to commitment and professionalism across a community of researchers, industries and politicians.

Denmark was an early adopter, committed to wind power since the 1970s. The government has taken a strong leadership position in overcoming the community resistance that has tended to complicate and delay wind development in other countries. In 2008 the Danish government introduced a programme of new requirements which enabled the public to be compensated for any losses experienced and rewarded for participation in new developments. For example, if a house loses value after a wind turbine goes up nearby, the operator compensates the owner. At least 20 per cent of the shares for any project must be offered to local residents, giving them a direct stake in the project and a keenness to support its success. To reduce the imposition of new power lines, most of the cables are being laid underground. This is an expensive solution but one that was deemed necessary to accelerate the uptake of renewable power.

The result - rapid roll-out of onshore wind, lower electricity costs, improved energy security, emission reductions.

Denmark has benefited from falling technology costs and high levels of investment in clean energy. As a result it hosts a number of the major market leaders in manufacture of onshore windpower infrastructure including Vestas and Siemens. The country also benefits from a large wind turbine supply chain.

The parallels for the maritime sector are clear - positive stimuli and clear commitment stimulate faster uptake and wider community benefits, this results in lower costs, higher returns, improved economic resilience and emission reduction. The nation, the global body, the industrial-research alliances that drive the opportunities associated with renewables in the maritime sector can expect to see attractive financial rewards.

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