Overview: During the week of February 7-10, 2006 we conducted a survey of Alliance members who work for companies involved in the Alternative Energy industry or who are knowledgeable in the field. A total of 121 Alternative Energy Industry members participated, along with 804 members knowledgeable about the industry.
Bottom Line: Alternative Energy Industry respondents still believe Hybrid/Electric Vehicles will experience the most rapid economic growth over the next two years, but the current results show the Solar Sector ranks second and has picked up the most momentum since our October 2005 survey.
What about 5 years out? Industry respondents believe the Fuel Cell sector will experience the most rapid economic growth over the next five years - with once again the Solar Sector ranking second.
We asked industry respondents to identify the fastest growing mid-tier companies within various alternative energy sectors for the next 12-24 months. Here are the leading companies identified by sector:
● Hybrid/Electric Sector: Energy Conversion Devices (ENER);
● Fuel Cell Sector: Fuel Cell Energy (FCEL) and Energy Conversion Devices (ENER);
● Solar Sector: Evergreen Solar (ESLR);
● BioMass Sector: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).
We also asked industry members how long they believe it will take for key Alternative Energy breakthroughs to reach commercial viability. Here are the consensus estimates:
Other Key Findings:
* Most Rapid Economic Growth - Past 12 Months. Alternative Energy Industry respondents cited Hybrid/Electric Vehicles (60%) as having experienced the most rapid economic growth over the past 12 months - up 7-pts since our previous survey. Importantly, number two Solar Energy (34%) has more than doubled during this time.
* Impact of Rising Energy Costs during 2006. Not surprisingly, the vast majority (92%) of industry respondents think rising energy costs will drive significantly more investment to alternative energy in 2006 - with Hybrid/Electric Vehicles (28%), Solar (27%) and Biomass (26%) benefiting most.
* Higher Fossil Fuel Price Assumptions. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Industry Respondents report their company's business plan now assumes Significantly Higher fossil fuel prices for the next 5 years - up 8-pts since October 2005. Another 41% say their company assumes Somewhat Higher fossil fuel prices.
* Biggest Technology Breakthroughs - Next 12-24 Months. Industry Respondents believe Fuel Cells (27%) and Hybrid/Electric Vehicles (27%) will experience the biggest new technology breakthroughs over the next 12-24 months.
Summary of Key Findings
Alternative Energy Sectors - Most Rapid Economic Growth
Past 12 Months
Hybrid/Electric (60%; up 7-pts)
Solar (35%; up 19-pts)
Next 12-24 Months
Hybrid/Electric (49%; up 1-pt)
Solar (39%; up 12-pts)
Next 5 Years
Fuel Cells (25%; down 6-pts)
Solar (22%; up 10-pts)
Breakthroughs Closest to Reaching Commercial Viability
Dramatic Expansion in Ethanol Production - 2011
Development of Highly Advanced Battery - 2012
Solar Cells Become Affordable Enough to Be Commercially Viable - 2014
Development of Mass Produced Hydrogen-Fuel Cars - 2018
Rising Energy Costs Driving Investment into Alternative Energy in 2006
Who Will Benefit Most?
Fastest Growing Mid-Tier Alternative Energy Companies
● Hybrid-Electric Sector: Energy Conversion Devices (ENER)
● Solar Sector: Evergreen Solar (ESLR)
● BioMass Sector: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
Note: I work for the publishing company that produces the ChangeWave services and have been involved with ChangeWave from the beginning. I am also an Alliance member. The ChangeWave Alliance is a group of about 5,000 industry insiders and professionals that are regularly surveyed to track economic and investment trends in various sectors of the market. You can learn more about ChangeWave and purchase this report in full at their newly redesigned website.
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