One of the business plans I support is a breakthrough in wind turbine construction, essentially rooted on getting the same production as today’s design, while using significantly less materials, thus cutting costs substantially. But in my quest to help them raise the investment capital they need to move forward, I’m running into investors who are unsure of the demand, given the end of the production tax credit in the U.S.
In reply to an email yesterday, I explain why I remain bullish:
I think the marketability issue boils down to this simplicity: the annual worldwide wind market is 38 GW and growing. It’s true that the PTC (production tax credit) has an uncertain future in the US, but wind is here to stay. It’s the only form of renewable energy that already cost-competitive with coal, and its costs continue to fall. Wind currently occupies almost 4% of the US grid mix. To the degree we can offer a reliable product with a (substantially) lower cost per Watt, we’ll be able to participate quite aggressively in this large and expanding market.
I would also add that there is a huge market (that doesn’t even require subsidies) in mid-sized wind, sold to schools, office complexes, military bases, factories, etc., displacing the cost of retail electricity, which is several times higher than wholesale.
In addition, you may want to check out this article, describing a longer-term opportunity for this turbine design in the emerging offshore wind market, both fixed to the seabed, but particularly the floating turbine space. Much lighter weight and downwind orientation make this breakthrough a natural.