Seeking Alpha

SustainableBusi...'s  Instablog

SustainableBusiness
Send Message
Rona Fried, Ph.D., is editor of Progressive Investor and CEO of SustainableBusiness.com. Known for her wide-ranging, deep knowledge of sustainable business, she speaks and writes on topics related to green business, green jobs and green investing. She writes the "Investing in Clean... More
My company:
SustainableBusiness.com
My blog:
sustainablebusiness.com
View SustainableBusiness' Instablogs on:
  • Global Geothermal Power Capacity Could Increase 134% by 2020

    Escalating investment in geothermal power could result in a 134% increase in total geothermal capacity between 2010 and 2020, according to a new report from Pike Research

    Under the high-growth scenario, capacity would increase from 10.7 gigawatts (GW) to 25.1 GW by 2020. Under a more conservative business-as-usual forecast scenario, the cleantech market intelligence firm estimates that geothermal power capacity would increase 34% to 14.3 GW by 2020.

    As global energy demand increases and efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions intensify, an increasing number of countries throughout the world are looking to tap geothermal resources to drive low carbon development. A clean, base load source of power, geothermal offers consistent electricity production nearly 24 hours a day with little to no emissions.

    “Worldwide potential for geothermal energy is immense,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus, “but geothermal remains an underutilized resource and represents only a small fraction of the global renewable energy portfolio. Improved access to resource data, more efficient drilling processes, increased understanding about the industry’s potential, and improving access to financing are driving expanding interest in the sector.”

    Asmus adds that the current installed capacity of 10.7 GW is spread across 26 countries with a combined output of approximately 67 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity.

    Currently, the United States is the global geothermal leader with 3.1 GW of installed capacity, and seven countries represent 88% of the world market. While conventional geothermal resources account for nearly all online capacity today, enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) and co-produced wells both offer opportunities for expansion outside of rift zones or volcanically active regions throughout the world.

    Pike Research’s high-growth forecast scenario assumes a continued increase and persistent volatility in the price of oil, tightening carbon regulations, improved access to capital, standardization of geothermal exploration data, contribution from EGS-enabled and co-produced resources, technological breakthroughs in exploration and drilling equipment, improved access to drills and skilled labor, and sustained policies supporting renewable energy mandates, grants, and tax subsidies.

    “Even if progress falls short in these areas,” says Asmus, “the potential for geothermal market expansion remains strong, and even our conservative business-as-usual forecast is consistent with growth rates observed in the industry since 1990.”

    Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy finalized a $96.8 million loan guarantee to a project sponsored by U.S. Geothermal, Inc. (AMEX: HTM) to construct a 23-megawatt (MW) geothermal power project in southeastern Oregon.

    Also in February, Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. (NGP) (TSX.V: NGP, OTCBB: NGLPF) secured the rights to purchase geothermal leasing rights to public and private lands in California owned by Iceland America Energy, Inc. (IAE).

    And green investment favorite Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORAannounced the commissioning of a 15 megawatts (MW) geothermal power plant in Nevada.

    Tags: ORA, NGLPF, HTM
    Mar 07 11:13 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Ultracapacitor Sales to Grow Tenfold by 2016

    Worldwide sales of ultracapacitors will grow tenfold from just $28.2 million in 2011 to $284.1 million by 2016, with cumulative revenue of $901.3 million during that period, according to a new market report.

    With more than a 30-year history of development, the ultracapacitor is not a new technology, but its utilization as a means for storing energy and delivering power is growing in several key application areas, Pike Research said. The most popular segment today for ultracapacitor modules in the transportation market is for use in stop-start vehicles, and early-stage applications for ultracapacitors also include grid-scale energy storage and wind turbines.

    “Ultracapacitors’ greatest advantages over their primary competition, batteries, are superior cycle life and power density,” says senior analyst John Gartner. “However, ultracapacitors are viewed as too expensive for most energy storage applications and the technology is commonly viewed as not sufficiently mature for transportation applications. That said, ultracapacitors are showing great promise in several niche applications, most notably the burgeoning market for stop-start vehicles.”

    Gartner adds that the stop-start vehicle market is experiencing rapid growth in Europe due to tightening emissions reductions requirements for vehicles with diesel engines. Ultracapacitors have been tested in pilot projects in electric buses and fuel cell vehicles, though they are not being used commercially in large numbers in other transportation market segments.

    Pike Research forecasts that ultracapacitor revenues in the stop-start vehicle segment will reach $355.5 million worldwide by 2020.

    Maxwell Technologies (NasdaqGM: MXWL) is supplying ultracapacitors for use in heavy-duty vehicles and wind turbine controls.

    Tags: MXWL
    Jan 27 11:50 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Fluorescents, LEDs On Track for 75% Market Share by 2020

    Fluorescent and light emitting diode (LED) lighting technologies will play an increasingly important role in the U.S., making up more than 75% of the market by 2020, according to a new report.

    The United States accounts for approximately 20% of the world’s total electricity consumption for lighting at an annual cost of over $40 billion. The largest share of this lighting electricity is used in commercial and public buildings, followed by residential lighting, industrial sector lighting, and outdoor/street lighting.

    “Fluorescent lighting technology is becoming more and more important in many key applications,” says Pike Research senior analyst Mike Wapner. “Fluorescent lighting is already very energy efficient, it has increasingly cost-effective dimming options, and it’s been around long enough for people to have familiarity and confidence with its performance in a variety of lighting situations.”

    Wapner adds that while technical, market, and other barriers will somewhat hamper the growth of LED lighting in the beginning of this decade, adoption will start to accelerate by the 2014-2015 timeframe.

    Penetration of the outdoor stationary sector will grow first, partly because color rendering is less important in these applications (thus allowing use of the least expensive LEDs). When compared to the overall lighting industry, LED sales volumes will still be relatively low in those years, but high prices will lead to large revenue figures.

    The long life of LED products will also mean that most sales will go into new construction and retrofit situations, and there will be relatively little replacement business.

    And even though technological, policy, and market trends appear to be driving the U.S. lighting market away from incandescent lighting, they will not totally disappear any time soon. Many types of “specialty” incandescent lamps are exempted from U.S. regulations that will phase out the most common bulbs. Incandescent lamps are also inexpensive to manufacture and there is still nothing restricting their use in much of the world.

    Pike Research’s study, “Energy Efficient Lighting for Commercial Markets”, examines the key technology and market trends that are driving the use of LED and other high-efficiency lighting in the Commercial, Industrial, and Outdoor Stationary sectors.

    This week, Intematix unveiled an innovative LED design that it says will boost efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs. Green investment opportunities in LEDs include Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), Rubicon Technology (Nasdaq: RBCN), Koninklijke Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG) and GE (NYSE: GE).

    Tags: CREE, PHG, GE, RBCN
    Jan 18 11:49 AM | Link | Comment!
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers

Latest Comments


Posts by Themes
Instablogs are Seeking Alpha's free blogging platform customized for finance, with instant set up and exposure to millions of readers interested in the financial markets. Publish your own instablog in minutes.