Sunday, October 4, 2015

As Renewables Transform the Energy Market

  • Last week, as G-20 energy ministers met in IstanbulFatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said "We expect 2015 global oil investments to be 20% less than 2014 … this is the biggest decline in oil history” and “In 2014 the renewable energy investment in China was bigger than the investments in the U.S. plus all European countries all put together … Governments must remove the question marks over renewables if these technologies are to achieve their full potential and put our energy system on a more secure, sustainable path.”
  • IEA also released its Renewable Energy - Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2020 report, which said, “renewables are expected to be the largest source of net additions to power capacity over the medium term … Onshore wind leads the global renewable growth, accounting for over one-third of the renewable capacity and generation increase. Solar PV is the second-largest source of new capacity, another third of deployment. Hydropower accounts for one-fifth of new renewable additions.”
  • Separately, Former Vice President Al Gore, at the Washington Ideas Forum, said "The most exciting source of hope is that the engineers and scientists and business investors have come up with a stunning cost-down curve for electricity from solar energy."
  • Finally, Solar City CEO Lyndon Rive, at a product introduction in New York City, said the firm was introducing the “Most Efficient Rooftop Panel on Earth." 
MY TAKE
  • Regarding oil investments – Oil price declines have negatively impacted a broad ecosystem of businessescommunities and investors involved with in the energy sector and it is unclear how long the “market rebalancing” process will take. (Note: the oil prices are driven by a complex mix of economic AND geopolitical dynamics.
  • Regarding demand for renewable energy – Successful deployments will be driven by providing better economics than incumbent energy sources,  as well as alignment with environmentally friendly initiatives – which may be supported with government subsidies.
  • Regarding Gore’s comments – Innovation should drive down costs and broaden adoption – but depressed oil prices may present headwinds for renewable adoption.
  • Regarding Solar City – It is unclear if their “efficient" product is also a “cost effective” product.The firm will likely continue to use panels from providers such as Canadian SolarTrina Solar and Yingli Green Energy.

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