WIND

The possibility of partnerships

ADAM BARBER

August 1, 2011

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In any industry, the ability to demonstrate a proven pedigree and a credible track record is paramount. And for the wind industry, it’s no different.

Track records give investors, partners, suppliers and customers, one main benefit – confidence. And confidence all too often wins contracts – particularly when the ability to differentiate either through price or through technological innovation becomes increasingly difficult.

But not all areas of the renewable industry work this way. And sometimes, it’s worth looking to other sectors, to ensure that lessons get learnt.

Take the marine industry, for instance, where last week, RWE quietly announced that it was abandoning the world’s biggest wave energy plan.

In the world of marine – where there are huge variations in the development and evolution of technology – commercial partnerships have become the lifeblood of large-scale initiatives. Something that has quickly ensured projects develop a laser-focus on the commercial reality of an initiative and its associated impact on the bottom line.

Self-policing at its best? Possibly. Particularly given the huge technological margins for error.

RWE provides a classic example of this, where, despite enthusiasm and investment from all sides, for one party, the numbers just didn’t stack up.

Perhaps then, there’s a lesson to be learnt, particularly as project and partnership ambitions within the wind industry continue to increase.

Sure, bigger can be better, but if the numbers don’t stack up, then you are back to square one. Just ask Gamesa and Iberdrola.

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