14 March 2008

Clean Tech: Clean Edge Releases Clean Energy Trends 2008

The guys at Clean Edge, a leading research and publishing firm in the clean tech space, have released their 2008 Clean Energy Trends report. They scan the sector for trends and point to "select companies to watch" within those trends.

Joel Makower, Ron Pernick, and Clint Wilder (Pernick and WIlder are authors of last year's Clean Tech Revolution) offer a quick assessment of global clean-energy markets, which they say "are expanding rapidly, with revenues in four benchmark sectors — biofuels, wind power, solar photovoltaics, and fuel cells — up 40 percent from $55 billion in 2006 to $77.3 billion in 2007."

The four sectors are projected to more than triple over the next decade, growing to $254.5 billion by 2017, according to their findings.

One surprising note, in my view, is that the authors don't spend much time on the rapid expansion of solar (especially thin film and thermal) over the past year or point to its rocky start in '08. Maybe that would be stating the obvious.

The full report can be downloaded at: Clean Energy Trends 2008.

Highlights include:

Global production and wholesale pricing of biofuels reached $25.4 billion in 2007 and is projected to hit $81.1 billion by 2017. The global biofuels market last year consisted of more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol and more than 2 billion gallons of biodiesel production worldwide.

Wind power is expected to expand from $30.1 billion in 2007 to $83.4 billion in 2017. Last year's global wind power installations reached a record 20,000 megawatts (MW), equivalent in size to 20 conventional fossil-fuel power plants.

Solar photovoltaics (including modules, system components, and installation), which totaled $20.3 billion last year, will more than triple to $74 billion by 2017. Annual installations in 2007 were just shy of 3,000 MW worldwide.

New global investments in energy technologies — including venture capital (VC), project finance, public markets, and research and development — have expanded by 60 percent from $92.6 billion in 2006 to $148.4 billion in 2007, according to research firm and Clean Energy Trends content provider New Energy Finance.

In the U.S., venture capitalists invested $2.7 billion in the clean-energy sector, representing almost 10 percent of total VC activity.

Clean Energy Trends 2008 also outlines five trends poised to make an impact on the markets this year. They describe:

-How small start-ups are powering markets for electric vehicles;
-Sustainable cities are being designed and built from the ground up;
-Overseas players are powering the U.S. wind market boom;
-Geothermal energy is experience a global renaissance as a clean- energy resource;
-New technologies are helping oceangoing ships take a cleaner tack. (Kite sails, anyone?)

"Clean energy has moved from the margins to the mainstream and the proof is in these numbers," said Clean Edge co-founder and principal Ron Pernick. "Amid last year's plummeting housing prices, rising foreclosure rates, and record high oil prices, clean energy continued to provide a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish economy."