Distributed Energy to Grow as California Crisis Lingers

Energy executives in the United States predict that the California energy crisis is unlikely to be resolved before 2003 and could drag on into 2004. But a majority say the most significant outcome of the crisis is expected to be an acceleration in the use of distributed electricity generation technologies, including solar photovoltaics, fuel cells and micro-turbines.

WAYNE, Pennsylvania, US, 2001-08-09 [SolarAccess.com] Energy executives in the United States predict that the California energy crisis is unlikely to be resolved before 2003 and could drag on into 2004. But a majority say the most significant outcome of the crisis is expected to be an acceleration in the use of distributed electricity generation technologies, including solar photovoltaics, fuel cells and micro-turbines. Energy information systems and micro-turbines will emerge as the two most critical technologies in the next five years, according to a survey of delegates to EnerTech Forum, an annual session for energy, telecommunications and technology leaders that was held in Pennsylvania. Of much less appeal in that timeframe were fuel cells, alternative fuels and PV technologies. When respondents were asked to select which technologies would prevail in ten years from now, fuel cells led the list, followed by alternative fuels and solar PV. Half of the 160 participants to the EnerTech Forum participated in the survey on a range of energy and telecom issues. “Those attending the Forum represent a segment of the industry that holds the key to future energy solutions,” says the session’s managing director David Lincoln. “They are precisely the types of entrepreneurial companies that the Bush Administration has been touting as emerging problem-solvers to the energy dilemma.” Most executives believe the crisis in California will have a chilling effect on the progress that has been made in the regulatory arena, say survey analysts, but the results clearly show the group’s bias toward entrepreneurial solutions and a marketplace that favours competition. When asked which factor was most critical for a truly competitive energy market for end-use customers, survey respondents overwhelmingly selected “access to real-time pricing information.” EnerTech says the survey clearly makes a case for a market that will reward energy providers with access to pricing information, which, in turn, will encourage competitive responses to energy needs. The executives also said facility usage and analytical tools were important to achieving a competitive energy market. These tools, including sophisticated, Internet-based, real-time energy information systems, allow end-use customers to fully understand their energy consumption patterns and then provide them with the ability to evaluate and make both short- and long- term energy decisions. EnerTech is a private equity firm involved in energy industries.
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