The market for cleantech solutions in the US is growing rapidly, providing significant opportunities for Danish companies with expertise in cutting-edge environmental technologies, products and services. But there are definite challenges involved in exporting this know-how to the US.
These challenges and opportunities were addressed at a recent seminar organised by Ramboll and the Confederation of Danish Industry in Copenhagen. Speakers included Laura Lochman, Charge d’Affairs from the US Embassy in Denmark, Mette Søs Lassesen a Market Director from Ramboll and a raft of cleantech experts based in the US.
There was general agreement that Danish companies are in a strong position to prosper. “I think the Danish cleantech companies are very well placed to meet the needs of the United States because of the years of experience they have had in these areas,” said Laura Lochman.
For Danish companies to succeed though, it is important to understand the conditions particular to the US market. According to Mette Søs Lassesen, these can range from the importance of having a physical presence in the US to not overselling the green message. “It is important to a have a foothold in the US if you are to be seen as a serious partner and a serious provider of services,” she said. ”It shows commitment to your clients and the partners you are working with. The US market is based much more on personal relationships than in Scandinavia, so being there on the ground is important.” Over-promising the green potentials of products is another pitfall to be aware of. “You need to be careful about what we call greenwashing,” said Mette Søs Lassesen. “Cleantech companies need to be rigorous about what their products really can do. Any claims should be backed up by documentation.”
Cost effectiveness is also a driver in increasing market share for renewables. According to Laura Lochman, “The costs of alternative forms of energy are making them increasingly competitive. For example, the cost of land-based wind power has fallen by almost 50 percent since 2008, and the figure is 64 percent for solar power.”
Speakers agreed that despite mixed signals from the new US administration when it comes to renewables, the market will continue to grow. This is partly because much of the impetus towards cleantech is occurring on a state rather than federal level.
“The states play a hugely important role,” said Laura Lochman. “California for example provides market- based incentives for renewables and others such as Arizona, Connecticut and Minnesota have similar schemes. Even traditionally republican states like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are leading in areas like wind energy.”
“Indeed, many argue that the momentum of the industry in something that can’t be turned back at this point.”
Ramboll have published a white paper outlining the ‘dos and don’ts’ of exporting cleantech to the US.