Capitalistic Zeal & Enterprising Markets


November 15, 2012

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Earlier this week, the Global Wind Energy Council published the fourth edition of its Global Wind Energy Outlook.

In it, the organisation outlined three different scenarios for the wind industry – looking out to 2020, 2030 and 2050 respectively.

It’s a compelling report. And even under its least ambitious scenario, based on data and projections from the IEA, the report predicts that the annual wind energy market will remain flat through to 2015, before shrinking to 10% below 2011 levels for the second half of the decade.

In contrast, the most optimistic scenarios predict a recovery in rates during that all important 2015 to 2020 timeframe, based on a stable policy environment, continued technological improvement and a subsequent jump in capacity of either 1,600GW or 2,500GW by 2030.

The key deciding factor for much of this predictive analysis of course, is that the ability to achieve many of these targets remains steadfastly locked in policy and longer-term governmental support.

No surprise then, that while the report does a good job of talking up the prospects and potential of the market, the ability to provide investors with that all-important added political stability, remains steadfastly out of reach.

However, and as we have consistently argued, while the ability to provide a stable policy framework – both from an individual and inter-country perspective remains critical, it is by no means exclusive and unique.

Particularly since the rapid development and evolution of the wind energy market has been predicated and built on entrepreneurial spirit and drive, right from the start. Something that’s all too easy too forget.

That capitalistic zeal is important and given that the sector is still made up of a patchwork of projects located all around the world, it carries more credence than you might initially think.

After all, project delivery drives jobs, boosts local economic development and creates a series of increasingly interconnected local supply chains that with time, grow and expand overseas.

Now yes, it’s true that as the industry starts to weight into bigger energy issues such as the development of super grids, energy storage and supply and the wider challenge of long term energy security, the public policy debate does not diminish.

Nevertheless, in this age of increasingly controversial public spending cuts and the supposed shrinking of the state, let’s not forget that future finance and growth comes only from the most enterprising of markets. And within international energy, wind is surely one of them.

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