12.5%. That’s the cumulative global growth that the wind industry clocked up in 2013.
It’s a measure of recent market success that this progress – achieved during what remains a tough economic climate – comes in lower than many may have hoped.
That’s a curious scenario. And it’s one that we need to handle carefully if we are to be able to set and achieve realistic targets and ambitions for the future.
Because here’s the thing. When measuring market success, should we not be considering more than incremental, top line global growth?
Sure, it’s a great yardstick. For in an instant it provides the market with a clear overview and insight into what has and hasn’t been achieved in recent months.
However, as we continue to clock up the megawatts, it’s important to understand the difference between genuine market evolution and progress for progress’ sake.
Moreover – viewed from the perspective of the individual company – there’s a danger to doggedly chasing an ever-increasing megawatt base.
Indeed, as many industry stalwarts have already experienced, by focusing efforts almost exclusively around increasing existing multiples, there’s a danger that the strategic imperatives for doing so can suddenly get lost.
For major corporations, that blinded focus often results in over-inflated acquisitions, costly forays into emerging markets overseas and a bloated product and service base.
While for smaller enterprises, this constant quest for top line growth can at best have profound implications on company culture and, at worse, lead to senior personnel and team changes as priorities and principles shift.
Of course, some see nothing wrong with this constant quest for megawatts and argue consistently that in a capitalist economy, this is largely the only way.
However, increasingly key industry insiders are beginning to recognise that the true measure of a market is geared around much more than this.
Instead, the measure of a market’s true worth is governed by confidence, clear thinking and a laser commercial focus.
Sure, chasing megawatts increases the overall market power base and helps cement a strong international energy market position. However, as the market continues to evolve, and investors and developers alike must also be able to recognise the importance of lifting their eyes and stepping off the treadmill.
2013 might have ‘only’ clocked 12.5% growth – but as we’ve consistently argued, this market is a marathon, not a sprint.
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