The renewable energy sector is attracting over $30 billion of investment a year, but future growth will depend on advances in energy storage technology. This is the conclusion of a recently published report by Cambridge UK based analysts, CarbonFree.
18th October 2006. Cambridge, UK: The renewable energy sector is attracting over $30 billion of investment a year, but future growth will depend on advances in energy storage technology. This is the conclusion of a recently published report by Cambridge UK based analysts, CarbonFree. According to the report, emphasis will shift away from photovoltaic technology and towards fuel cell, hydrogen generation and geothermal systems. According to CarbonFree, this shift will provide investment opportunities in downstream renewable energy products such as hydrogen and electricity - at present it is polysilicon, rather than the energy it generates, that is traded as a commodity.
The report highlights key areas where established renewable energy companies can partner with emerging energy storage technology providers. One of these is the production of hydrogen using wind power. According to Senior Analyst, Remi Wilkinson, "As the proportion of energy generated from wind energy increases, the integrity of power grids becomes an issue unless energy can be stored."
In the short term, CarbonFree sees biofuels remaining the dominant clean energy store for the transport sector. However, the report notes that biofuels themselves will come under pressure due to supply shortfalls and concerns over their environmental impact. This, according to CarbonFree, could give hydrogen fuel cell technology an edge in the carbon neutral transport sector.
Another potential market identified within the report is the use of geothermal technology in urban areas. 'Urban Heat Islands' - built up areas that have microclimates several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside - are a significant contributor to global warming. However, technology is emerging that can be used to manage heat in cities, and CarbonFree sees scope for the development of a business model based on the storage and re-supplying of this energy. The report suggests this business model will operate along similar lines to a hedge fund and will attract the attention of energy traders skilled at setting up deals between energy suppliers and large energy consumers.
The report "Watts In Store - Storing Renewable Energy" is available from CarbonFree.
CarbonFree carries out research and analysis in a wide range of alternative energy related fields and disseminates results in its highly focussed CarbonFree reports. It also helps organisations reposition themselves in the rapidly evolving alternative energy market.