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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2015 TRENDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

The annual outlook issue of Renewable Energy World magazine attempts to predict what will happen within the renewable energy industry over the course of the year. They went straight to the top of major renewable energy companies, asking CEOs and presidents to tell where they are devoting their company resources in order to capitalize on some of the market growth that they expect to see in 2015.  Here is some feedback:
  • Kyle Seymour, President, S&C Electric Company:  sees tremendous growth potential in both utility-scale and residential solar around the world.  Battery energy storage will gain in importance to aid utilities add more solar PV, especially.  Anticipates wind operators to enhance remote monitoring and real-time data to maintain smooth connection to utilities.
  • Julia Hamm, President and CEO, Solar Electric Power Association:  solar continues to grow.  Prices will further fall and growth areas include the following:
    • Even with the termination of the federal investment tax credit looming, 1-5 MW utility-scale projects will continue to spread.  
    • Yieldcos and green bond programs are innovations to finance these initiatives.
    • There is huge potential for community solar, meeting the needs of apartments and small businesses.
    • Both storage and smart inverters will come into greater prominence.
    • There is hope for collaboration and compromise in net metering and rate design for all stakeholders to profit.
  • Karl Gabel, CEO, Geothermal Energy Association:  growth will be most prominent in the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific, East Africa and Central America:
    • Particularly in Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Kenya and Ethiopia.
    • 24 countries are operating 12.7 GW of geo-power.
    • This year, there are 11.7 GW of capacity addition and 1.8 GW of new power in 80 countries.
    • The world is on track to reach 20 GW (equivalent to twenty nuclear power plants) by 2024.
    • In the USA, states are adjusting policies to add baseload geothermal to the mix.
  • Lynn Jurich, CEO, SunRun:  expects residences to overcome utilities in 40 states to reduce their monopoly.  (Sorry to say that the purchase of Hawaiian Electric Company by NextEra of Florida will mean Hawaii will more and more swing back to utility control.  However, this might not necessarily be terrible, as there are economies of scale that could actually lower long-term prices.  This is my editorial.):
    • By the end of 2014 more than 600,000 households had installed solar in the U.S.
    • Anticipates more and more utilities to provide their consumers with a greater opportunity in solar.
  • Dan Kalafatas, CEO, 3Degrees Group:  there will be growth in both community solar and corporate/industrial direct power purchase agreements (PPA).
    • PPAs will enter your vocabulary.
    • The kinks are slowly being resolved and 2015 will experience new business models to advance this concept.
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All of a sudden, four ocean storms popped up in the Southern Hemisphere of the West Pacific.  Only one looks particularly awesome, Tropical Cyclone Pam at 130 MPH, expected to strengthen to a Category 5 and skirt by Vanuatu and meander towards New Zealand:

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