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Danish and Dutch wind energy policy 1970–2000: lessons for the future

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Both in the Netherlands and in Denmark, policies to develop a wind turbine industry and to install a large wind turbine capacity were started in the 1970s. However, the outcomes of these policies were very different. A flourishing wind turbine industry developed in Denmark, whereas in the Netherlands, a few companies started building wind turbines in the 1980s and 1990s, but presently no wind turbine producers exist. How can this difference be explained? A number of factors can be pinpointed. The main factors are the following: firstly, different technological choices were made; secondly, different policies were introduced for wind turbine owners in both countries; thirdly, the opinion of the utilities regarding wind energy in both countries was very different. Nowadays, both countries are focusing on offshore wind energy. The policy measures that are introduced and the technical choices that are made are path dependent. In other words, they follow from the policy measures and the technical choices in the past. How can the mistakes that were made in the past be avoided and what lessons can be learned for the future? We will elaborate on that in this paper.

Keywords: sustainable technology development, wind energy technology, wind power, renewable energy, system innovations, technological learning processes, wind energy policy, wind turbines, technology development, learning, sustainable development, sustainability, Denmark, The Netherlands, offshore wind energy

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