The clean energy market is booming. According to the report 'Clean Energy Trends in 2008' by Clean Edge, a California clean technologies research and publishing firm, the market for solar energy, wind energy, biofuels, and fuel cells experienced a 40% increase in revenue growth in 2007. Cumulative global wind capacity now exceeds 94,000 MW. Solar capacity is more than 10,000 MW and biofuel production is approximately 15 billion gallons per year. This rapid growth leads to economies of scale and cost reductions, promising even faster growth in the future.
However, Clean Edge also notes a few important challenges that must be overcome in the upcoming years:
In addition, Clean Edge sees the constrained credit market, uncertainty about US regulation on renewable energy and carbon emissions, and the latent global economic recession as three important factors that could hamper the growth of the clean energy market.
Apart from these general conclusions, the Clean Edge report describes five remarkable trends that are currently ongoing:
1) Start-ups powering the electric car. A growing number of start-ups (Tesla, Fisker Automotive, Aptena, Phoenix Motorcars, etc.) are creating plug-in hybrids or fully electric vehicles. They are constructing the green cars the public is waiting for and the major car companies still cannot deliver.
2) Sustainable cities. A few fully sustainable, zero-emission cities are being designed. These include Masdar in the United Arab Emirates and Dongtang near Shangai in China. Existing cities are reacting to the global warming problem as well. Ten of the world’s largest cities, including New York, London, Sao Paolo, and Tokio, are upgrading the efficiency of their city-owned buildings.
3) Overseas players powering U.S. wind market boom. The U.S. wind market is booming, powered by turbine manufacturers, component suppliers, and wind farm developers from overseas (Denmark, Germany, India, Spain, etc.).
4) The rebirth of geothermal energy. Improvements in drilling technology have brought geothermal energy into the limelight once again. With 86 projects currently underway, the U.S. geothermal capacity is expected to double to reach more than 6,300 MW.
5) Cleaner ocean-going vessels. Ships account for 4.5% of global CO2 emissions. New technologies show promise of substantially reducing this impact. Plug-in systems in the harbour could allow ships to run their onboard power systems on grid electricity while docked, saving on the use of dirty bunker fuel. Another promising technology consists of large kites harnessing high winds that flow above the ocean, cutting fuel consumption of even large ocean-going vessels by as much as 20%.
The report 'Clean Energy Trends 2008' by Clean EdgeLog in to post comments