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WindMade: Two from Davos

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In a recent press conference at Davos, Georg Kell, Executive Director of UN Global Compact, responded to a question similar to the one I posed here on Earth & Science in a previous post:

Is there a risk that WindMade can get into a battle with solar?

Kell answers by calling WindMade a “pathbreaker,” an initial label and initiative that may clear the way for a more general label in the future. He suggests the name, NatureMade.

Below is the clip:

Referring to sustainable energy as NatureMade may sound good but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Coal and oil are also very natural — they are just releasing a lot of CO2 that was (naturally) stored in them in the past.

So I still think CleanMade would be a better, more accurate general term. It also sounds nicer: “Clean,” don’t you just smell the country air?

Recently, I also wrote an e-mail to GermanSolar asking them what they thought of the label name, WindMade. Christoffer Ovesen, Sales Manager at GermanSolar’s Danish Branch has promised me an answer but was vacationing until today.  I’ll post his answer here when I receive it.

Below is a second clip from the conference where Ditlev Engel, CEO and President of Vestas, goes over his hopes for the new label. Nothing new under the sun there.

Sorry, I meant blowing in the wind.

But the clip is still worth watching. Please note Engel’s distinction between poor countries — defined by heads of states.  And poor people — defined by people. I thought that was a good way of looking at the potentials of a bottom-up approach such as WindMade.


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February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

Interview with Ditlev Engel, CEO and President of Vestas

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At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Vestas, Lego and others have now formally introduced their new consumer label, WindMade (See previous post). According to, the new label will tell consumers when products have been manufactured with the use of wind energy.

Here is a short interview by Reuters with CEO and President of Vestas, Ditlev Engel.

The interview is worth watching because it marks the efforts by Vestas to change its business model  — or at least to expand on it.

The fact that Engel as much as opens his mouth to speak about the new label is a clear signal that it’s more than just a well-meant green initiative — it is business strategy. Engel does, after all, receive about $2.000.000 annually in wages.

In a Vestas press release, the windmill company said the new label is hoped to circumvent a political process that has come to a standstill.

“The purpose of the new initiative is to create a shortcut that can prevent a situation where a political process that many feel is without prospects ends up blocking necessary initiatives,” the press release said (Danish.)

By allowing consumers to support “green” products and industries, Vestas seeks to raise demands for wind energy from bottom-up. The company, in other words, wishes to cater to consumers rather than depend on governments.

Time will tell whether the label can endure. First and foremost, I believe, WindMade will provide an interesting litmus test for the ability of markets to drive changes toward clean energy.

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January 31, 2011 at 2:17 pm

NGO Introduces Wind Energy Consumer Label

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Made By Wind. Politics and consumption have long been part of the same realm. Labels such as ‘Recycled,’ ‘Organic’ and ‘Fair Trade’ witness this. And now there’s another label in town.

WIND. New label promises to tell consumers if products have been manufactured using wind energy. Photo,

With the launch of WindMade — an NGO funded by Lego, the UN, Vestas and others — a new label promises to tell consumers if products have been manufactured using wind energy. What that means exactly is still unclear, but terms of use as well as specific requirements are said to be revealed at the official WindMade label launch at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 28 January.

Edit: 01/25/2011. The standard used to qualify manufacturers for using the label will not be completed before June 15, 1011, according to WindMade.

You can read up on the new label at the HuffPo, in a Vestas press release (Danish) or at the official WindMade website.

In the meantime, maybe we could think about this:

What does solar power manufacturers such as GermanSolar think about a move implying that clean energy is wind energy?

So far the German manufacturer has been silent (German), but I can’t imagine solar business to be thrilled.

Don’t they want in?

The launch of WindMade, funded and marketed by Danish windmill giant Vestas among others, seems to me to be the first shot fired in what could be a burgeoning war over symbols.

Such a war would be a benign one. We are, after all, talking about boosting growth in renewable energies here.

But if Vestas is successful in branding clean energy as primarily wind-based energy, there is a big chance that solar, tidal or geothermal energy manufacturers will suddenly find themselves standing in the shade of one of those big whooping windmills for a long time.

Striving to dominate mainstream clean energy discourses is a bold and clever move by Vestas (who could use a bit of tailwind after the massive layoffs and catastrophic second quarter financial report which filled Danish media with bad press for most of 2010.)  And it may also prove to be a great way of funding the climate from bottom-up instead of COP-down.

But why did Lego, the UN and WWF accept this wind-bias? And what does Siemens say? Are they simply too involved with manufacturing generators for coal plants to be political about this?

I wouldn’t prefer a label called ‘ChickenOrganic’ to the more inclusive one, ‘Organic.’ Neither do I think it would be very realistic to rely on wind technologies alone to provide the clean energy we’ll all need in the future.

But WindMade — that does sound pretty cool. And I’m stoked to see someone taking action like this.

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January 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Does ‘Cool It’ Also Apply to Lomborg?

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Bjørn Lomborg’s new film, Cool It, arrives in due time to receive attention before COP 16 in Cancun. It is neither too late nor too early, and chances are that it will still be on people’s tongues as the 16th climate summit kicks off in late November. But the question is if that is a good thing?

Following the complete collapse of COP 15 in Copenhagen in December, many doubt that the summit in Mexico will do better. This include United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon. But does this mean, as Lomborg says in his film (trailer below) and elsewhere, that we should stop talking about emissions and start talking about investments?

I would love to hear opinions about this. I am confused. Clearly we have not managed to curb emissions yet, but is it time to give up and focus exclusively on adaption and green tech? Or is there a middle way?

Check out the trailer below.

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November 17, 2010 at 3:56 am