The policy framework for the energy sector absorbed much of the attention and discussion at the Danish Wind Industry Association's 2013 annual general meeting, with industry leaders calling for political stability while at the same time recognizing that the wind industry itself must take responsibility for reducing costs.
"Every time a politician considers changing the energy regulations, it is extremely toxic to the wind industry. Therefore, the regulatory safety a priority for us. As soon as we know what the future framework looks like, we know what we can do going forward," said Ditlev Engel, CEO of Vestas Wind Systems, during the meeting's first panel discussion.
Engel's view met with support from Jan Kjaersgaard, CEO of Siemens Wind Power, who also urged the wind industry itself to find ways to become more competitive. "Politicians should provide a stable environment in which we can expect going forward. But we must even be better to put up efficiency and reduce our costs," Kjaersgaard said.
Mads-Ole Astrupgaard, CEO of Fritz Schur Technical Group, however, pointed out that the industry has been have the same discussion for the past decade.
"There has been a tremendous amount of technical progress in 10 years, yet we sit and discuss the same issues as we did then. We talk about partnerships, efficiency and reducing costs. Seen in this light, we are an industry that is only ripening slowly. There is still a long way to go, and we are not even close to being there yet,” he said.
Michael Lewis, COO of E.ON Climate & Renewable, called for a greater understanding of the fact that the energy sector today should be seen as a whole rather than as fragmented parts.
“There is a clear tendency for the wind industry to push toward a place where it is no longer dependent on government subsidies. At E.ON, we are confident that if we do not reduce costs to a level where wind can compete on equal terms with other energy sources, then wind has no future. And the industry needs to recognize this,” he said.
“We want Europe and countries elsewhere to have a holistic approach and look at the energy industry as a whole rather than constantly fiddling with the individual parts of it”.
Adapted from the Danish online newsletter published by METAL.