Massachusetts & Denmark Collaborate on Renewable Energy and Life Sciences

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(Caption: Lillgrund Wind Farm in Denmark)

This week Governor Deval Patrick is leading a coalition of government and industry officials on an Innovation Partnership Mission to Denmark, United Kingdom and France. The goal is to expand opportunities between Massachusetts and the European Union for economic development and job creation in the innovation economy, education and transportation sectors.

Denmark was the first stop on the trip, with Governor Patrick touring the Lillgrund Wind Farm off the coast of Copenhagen, and later giving an overview of the state’s strategy for strengthening its clean and renewable energy portfolio.

“Offshore wind has enormous potential off Massachusetts’ coast and we are working to ensure the Commonwealth is the national hub for this emerging industry,” Patrick said. “It is essential we establish strong relationships with industry leaders abroad so we can learn from their experience to grow the industry at home.”

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts number one in energy efficiency in the United States for three years running. The clean energy revolution is yielding economic benefits as well, with 11.8 percent job growth in the last year and 24 percent in the last two years; nearly 80,000 people are employed in the industry in Massachusetts at 5,500 companies.

Later that day, the governor spoke at a Life Science Innovation Partnership Forum in Copenhagen. It was a sequel to a June 2012 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Massachusetts and Denmark’s Medicon Valley that sought to stimulate economic, industrial, technological and commercial cooperation between these two leading life sciences centers.

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Medicon Valley are both centers for life sciences innovation with economies driven by entrepreneurship,” said Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “Our strengths in industries such as life sciences and digital technologies have positioned us as a global leader, and by working together, we will ensure economic growth in our regions for generations to come.”

Sophie Haestorp Andersen, Regional Chairman of the Capital Region of Denmark, described her group’s strategy to be “an international knowledge region that collaborates with the best research institutions and companies in the world. The agreement with Massachusetts is an important milestone in that strategy.”

There are also important trade connections between the two places. Last year, Denmark was Massachusetts’s 40th largest export partner, with Massachusetts exporting approximately $60.3 million in goods and services to Denmark. Denmark was Massachusetts’s 48th largest import partner in 2013, with Massachusetts importing approximately $48.9 million in goods and services, according to the Massachusetts Export Center.