I’m visiting Denmark – my birth country, where I learned to save energy and water as a child because it was very expensive. I remember having to pay a small amount to my parents if I forgot to turn out the lights in a room I wasn’t using, and we put stones in the toilet so we didn’t flush as much water.

Perhaps due to the high cost, Danes also learned to find ways to save energy and water in production facilities, and companies were naturally incented to invest in renewable energy innovation. A great example would be Danish Vestas, now a global leader in sustainable energy solutions. As far back as 1971, Vestas started developing wind turbines to turn wind into electricity. (Read more about the fascinating history here: https://www.vestas.com/en/about/this-is-vestas/history)

And then this past weekend, it happened – too much renewable energy was produced, resulting in normal Danes getting paid for doing a wash, tumbling clothes or getting their electric car recharged…or leaving the lights on! The strange pricing situation might only be due to a long weekend. Still, this scenario opens up many business opportunities and risks – or at least to start thinking differently. 

When batteries can store the excess renewable energy, we will probably not be paid for using it – but by harvesting the wind and sun, it will certainly be cheaper if not free.

What will such a scenario mean for your business? Will your products be more cost-effective to produce? Think about competing technologies or products that so far haven’t been viable because they were too energy intensive. If the cost of energy doesn’t need to be embedded into those or future products, will they outcompete your products? 

I would appreciate your thoughts on the impact on your business or life if renewable energy was abundant and inexpensive or free. Please also think about what solutions could be available to those who do not currently have access due to high energy prices. What energy-intensive technologies could solve some of the world’s biggest challenges in this scenario?

Welcome to a new world of opportunities!

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