Danish drama shows public view of wind is shifting

Plenty of Scandinavian firms are making a killing in wind—and ‘killing in wind’ also happens to be the theme of a new BBC4 drama, ‘Follow the Money’.


March 31, 2016

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Plenty of Scandinavian firms are making a killing in wind—and ‘killing in wind’ also happens to be the theme of a new BBC4 drama, ‘Follow the Money’.

This Danish drama follows the shady goings-on at fictional energy giant Energreen, and specifically the body washed up at one of its offshore wind farms. Given our own experience of wind, it is strange and refreshing to see the sector shown as fraught with political tension and criminal intrigue. Our experience of shoot-outs and car chases is limited. Perhaps we always leave before the exciting stuff kicks off.

The presentation of a wind energy company as a large, dangerous corporation in a TV drama is certainly notable for the industry. Traditionally, wind energy has been viewed by many as the preserve of hippies and in need of subsidies and support.

In ‘Follow the Money’ this is not the case. Energreen is a dark force to be reckoned with in the heart of Copenhagen’s business district. Its executives are not looking to save the world, but corporate sharks willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

This is new ground for wind energy’s presentation in popular culture, and it would be easy to despair at such a presentation. However, we see a positive side. It indicates an underlying trend in popular opinion to increasingly see wind companies as viable and profitable. It is good that wind is seen grappling with the same commercial pressures as other business, and not solely focused on environmental idealism.

This should also help to dispel the view of wind farms as inefficient and unprofitable. This sort of treatment puts wind alongside other industries, not apart from them.

As with the character of Energreen’s CEO in ‘Follow the Money’, however, this shifting perception of wind energy should throw up some red flags. The wind industry has to be aware that being viewed as “big business”also means being scrutinised in that way. If wind companies have the potential to be be seen as suspicious and shady on screen, the same is true in reality. People are suspicious of big corporate interests. Wind must be as transparent and honest as possible to counter this.

The appearance of shotguns or briefcases full of cash in ‘Follow the Money’ may not tally with our experience of wind, but what does tally with our experience is that people are beginning to see wind power as big business. The industry must act in a way that acknowledges this.

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