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, according to a new white paper from Pike Research titled ‘Clean Energy: Ten Trends to Watch in 2011 and Beyond.’
In several key sectors, the market is shifting back toward business structures and technologies that were once abandoned, but are now being revived. The white paper identifies 10 key trends that are part of this transformation.
‘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.’
Key clean energy trends for this year and beyond include the following:
– The revival of direct current transmission and distribution technologies;
– New rules for economies of scale, from huge wind turbines as large as 10 MW to small modular nuclear reactors that could power a shopping center or a business complex;
– 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 midsized 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 on water-based sites; and
– Investor-owned utilities returning to ownership/development of new renewable generation projects.