What’s ahead?

Thought leader views on 2014

United in their willingness to solve renewable energy industry challenges, participants at Recharge Thought Leaders Summit in Oslo shared ideas and supported each other to move forward on problematic issues. The strong feeling now of being a united front is one that will surely carry on throughout the year of 2014 and beyond.

The new year kicked off with the first Recharge Thought Leaders Summit, organized by Recharge magazine on January 9 in Holmenkollen, Norway. J-P Mäkinen, President and CEO of The Switch, was one of the 50 invited top guests to the focused gathering where key issues facing the global renewables industry could be discussed in an open atmosphere.

J-P Mäkinen shares his views on the event and what it means for 2014:

Moving as a united front forward

For the first time ever, Recharge Thought Leaders Summit brought together the biggest names from wind turbine manufacturers, developers, utilities and suppliers to work on solving the challenges facing the industry. Everyone shared the same opinion that 2014 will be a better year. The overall feeling was a strong common desire to move forward as a united front.

Communications is key

The world still needs to be made aware of one simple fact: Wind power is unquestionably the cheapest way to build new electricity. Wind parks in Texas are already generating power for as little as USD 0.05 per kWh. Success stories like this should be continuously and effectively communicated.

Offshore and onshore are two completely different businesses

Offshore and onshore are based on two very different business models. When building a ready-permitted wind farm onshore, you can very exactly calculate your return on investment. Offshore has nothing to do with generating wind power in the end – but everything to do with managing a large number of unknown variables.

Focus shift to emerging countries

The greatest short-term opportunities are not in European offshore, but rather in building new onshore capacity in emerging markets. Having a good localization concept with a viable supply chain based on local contacts makes this a pre-planned proposition through a partner network.

Technology as driving force for premium turbines

New premium turbines will embrace the latest technology to further cut the costs of energy and achieve the lowest O&M costs. These will be the flagships that will raise the standard for turbines of the future. Still, turbine requirements will continue to be specific to both to customers and markets. This means that the existing technology will prevail to serve initially cost-driven customers, like developers and typically those in emerging markets.

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