There is a growing realization in the New Energy community, accentuated by the failure of the Copenhagen summit and subsequent finger pointing about blame for the failure, that the world’s last best hope is New Energy.
This list of 2009’s most important changes in New Energy is encouraging because there is no really bad news on it. Everything in New Energy generally seemed to grow and get better last year. This is especially impressive considering how bad the economy was for most of the year.
Part of the reason was the Obama administration’s stimulus package and general support for New Energy. Department of Energy investment was $36.7 billion. Anticipating support from the federal government to keep the New Energies growing, venture capitalists and corporate investors stayed with them as well, putting over $4 billion into startups. It was half what was invested in New Energy in 2008 but it kept the innovation going.
Battery electric vehicle (BEV) manufacturing fell off in ‘09, postponing the transportation revolution a year, but the Obama administration made it clear plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are on their way to commercialization.
In addition, the smart grid began its deployment with pilot projects, solar got cheaper and wind kept growing. All in all, 2009 suggested New Energy may just be ready to step up and do for the world what its budding international governance system is still too immature to accomplish, that is, head off the worst impacts of global climate change.
Greentech Media’s top 10 changes in the New Energy industries in 2009 were… ::continue::
Greentech Media’s top 10 2009 New Energy changes:
(1) The solar industry’s emphasis shifted from cheaper panels to cheaper installation.
(2) New Energy globalization became a busily trafficked 2-way street, with big foreign investment domestically matching U.S. companies’ ventures abroad.
(3) Defense industry players started moving money and momentum to New Energy in partnership with utilities.
(4) Money went to algae biofuels as growing, refining and marketing innovations emerged.
(5) International conglomerates started buying in.
(6) Landfill waste to gas got bigger and recycled materials found new uses.
(7) Despite widespread rising social concerns about the future of water supplies, little money went to water projects.
(8) Building energy management won a large portion of New Energy investment.
(9) New Energy insiders began talking up the enormous and overlooked opportunity in combined-heat-and-power technology.
(10) Several much-anticipated and long-awaited New Energy technologies remained much-anticipated and long-awaited.
Time is short and the need is enormous. The failure at Copenhagen was the clarion call to every member of the community from the rooftop solar installers to the laboratory engineers designing bigger better wind to the deep research policy analysts to the folks waiting for battery electric vehicles before they buy their next car: It is time to build New Energy everyday with both hands and determined hearts!
This post is based on The Top Ten Emerging Trends of 2009 by Michael Kanellos, December 9, 2009, Greentech Media