eiXtra: published by NEMA (Image) Hot Topics
On the Hill/Around the Nation
International News
Monday, June 6, 2011
feature story
Clean Energy Business Models Undergoing Transformation

As the clean energy industry emerges from a challenging period caused by the global economic downturn, it is entering a stage of rapid change in which business models are being transformed against a backdrop of regulatory uncertainty.

The market seems to be reviving business structures and technologies that were once abandoned.

Utilities are becoming more involved again with power generation deployments, most notably in solar. The growing popularity of direct current (DC) at both the micro-distribution and high-voltage transmission levels of service is an unexpected development for many in the industry. And there's an increasing diversity of scale and resources being deployed in the renewable sector, a sign of the growing maturity of this market segment.

Pike Research identified 10 trends that are contributing to this transformation, including:

  • Revival of direct current (DC) transmission and distribution technologies
  • China's rise as the most important global market for waste-to-energy power plants
  • New rules for economies of scale, from huge wind turbines as large as 10 megawatts (MW) to small modular nuclear reactors that could power a shopping center or a business complex
  • Greater diversification of technology choices in solar, including a resurgence of concentrated solar power (CSP) and concentrated solar PV (CPV)
  • More product diversity in the wind power sector, both in terms of design and scale, including more vertical axis and two-bladed turbine designs and the increasing importance of mid-sized turbines (100 kW to 1 MW)
  • The movement of power plants to marine sites, including the growth of offshore wind, hydrokinetic wave and tidal generators, and even floating solar photovoltaics (PV) on water-based sites
  • Growth in geothermal generation, largely due to state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in the western US
  • Investor-owned utilities returning to ownership/development of new renewable generation projects

"As the clean energy industry matures and as it simultaneously comes to grips with economic challenges, market leaders are experimenting with new business models, both at a large scale and on a distributed basis," says senior analyst Peter Asmus. "At the same time, key industry players are utilizing an increasingly wider diversity of technology options, especially in the solar and wind sectors."

Source: Reuter / Sustainable Business

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Hot Topics

Care Act Builds On Manufacturing Industry Efforts To Ensure Safe And Effective Medical Imaging Services
The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) voiced its support for the "Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act of 2011," introduced by Representatives Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and John Barrow (D-GA). Also known as the CARE Act, the bill builds on the efforts of the medical imaging industry to ensure safe and effective patient care and promotes access to high-quality medical imaging and radiation therapy services.

Solar and Hydrogen Car Races Spark Imaginations
The call to advance America's energy research and development continues to make headlines across the nation. The Junior Solar Sprint and Hydrogen Fuel Cell car competitions are just a couple of the educational tools NREL and DOE provide to teachers to help them educate students in scientific principles with an atmosphere of fun and excitement.

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On the Hill/Around the Nation

Construction on West Virginia Wind Project to Begin in September 2011
The first batch of wind-turbine parts for the Pinnacle wind project in West Virginia is scheduled to arrive on June 27, and the second shipment on July 4, according to Matt Hill, manager of federal affairs for Edison Mission Energy.

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International News

Application deadline for "Export Green: Brazil" Trade Mission
Through ITA's Market Development Cooperation Program,"Export Green: Brazil" is helping 15–20 companies with products and services for green buildings (energy efficiency, smart grid, construction/materials, onsite renewable energy, water treatment, etc.) travel to Brazil from August 28–September 2, 2011, for the Green Building Conference and business matchmaking.  Download the presentations of a recent webinar on Business Opportunities in Brazil. 

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Market Comments by Tom Robinson
Things are not looking good for economic growth and job creation in the recovery, ant it is not clear that inflation will remain subdued beyond food and energy, given the dollar. The big question is what will be done about it. read more...

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