Vestas CEO Anders Runevad: “The future belongs to clean energy”

Over at The Guardian, Vestas’ CEO Anders Runevad argues convincingly that “the future belongs to clean energy.” Not surprisingly, given that that Vestas bills itself as “the global leader in wind energy,” Runevad focuses on wind power, as opposed to other forms of clean energy. Among other things, Runevad argues that:

  • “Wind power is projected to more than double in developing countries and increase by one-third in developed nations by 2030.”
  • “…global energy markets are turning away from fossil fuels and towards wind and other renewable sources, not just because they’re clean but because they’re cheaper, more competitive energy choices and offer a level of long-term certainty more price-volatile fossil fuels just can’t match.”
  • “As wind energy costs continue to drop, the primary drivers for clean energy are expected to include replacement of existing generating capacity – fossil fuel or nuclear – because they simply no longer make economic sense.”
  • “Developing markets in particular have an opportunity to leapfrog older energy sources and meet new electricity demand by using wind power that is cleaner and cheaper than fossil fuels.”
  • “While the present and the future look bright for renewables, pushing their energy costs even lower remains key for accelerating the transition to a clean energy mix globally. [Bloomberg New Energy Finance – BNEF] reports that onshore wind’s costs are expected to drop 23–36% globally by 2030, but Vestas is committed to driving down the levelized cost of wind energy even further.”

Clearly, as Runevad writes, things are looking highly promising for wind power growth. But other forms of clean energy – and cleantech more broadly – are growing fast as well, while their costs plummet. Last week, we wrote here at Scaling Green about a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy that highlights “the accelerated deployment of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, solar technologies for both utility-scale and distributed photovoltaic (PV), electric vehicles (EVs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).” According to that report, in addition to the boom in wind power, solar power costs are plummeting and installations growing fast as well. Electric vehicle sales are accelerating, as is energy-efficient lighting, with more cutting-edge clean technologies – “fuel cells, grid-connected batteries, energy management systems and big area additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3-D printing” – on the way.

Combine all that, and it leads to a scenario similar to what David Roberts laid out recently at Vox – namely, that the key to tackling climate change is to “electrify everything,” and simultaneously move as quickly as possible towards “fully clean electricity” generated by “wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, geothermal,” tidal, wave, etc. Moving in this direction will result in several major benefits: 1) a sharp reduction in fossil fuel pollution that harms the environment and human health; 2) lower-cost energy, as the cost of clean power keep falling (while fossil fuels remain volatile and increasingly non-competitive with clean energy); and 3) a sustainable, prosperous economy in which clean energy helps put a dent in poverty. Sounds pretty good, right? So let’s ditch antiquated, dirty, dangerous 19th and 20th-century fossil fuel technologies and replace them with a 21st-century clean economy that everyone – other than a fossil fuel company executive perhaps – will love.





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