April 03, 2018
The quest for lowering the environmental concerns has indeed transited renewable energy market from a niche vertical to a remarkably lucrative business sphere of recent times. Government support and participation in installing renewable energy projects to generate power through clean sources have been one of the major factors that has drawn hefty investments into this business. If industry experts are to be believed, environmental concerns pertaining to energy consumption are nothing sort of new, but what has really changed in the last few years is the maturation of arguably more sustainable power harnessing sources in the global renewable energy market. Evident for a while, the Q3 of 2017 witnessed a worldwide investment of USD 66.9 billion in clean energy – a significant high of 40% from Q3 of 2016 and 3% up from Q2 2017. These statistics certainly bears testament to the fact that the world is now rapidly acknowledging the long-term benefits of renewables. Quite overtly, these trends are expected to act as a catalyst for global renewable energy investment market growth in the coming years.
Global investment trends in renewable energy market
The year 2016 witnessed several technological advancements that have a significant bearing on the investment trends of renewable energy market. Technological upgradation in harnessing power from credible low-carbon alternatives has resulted into dramatic drop in the prices of renewable energy projects and installations. In fact, the new research published by the UN Environment states that the decline in the cost of clean technology added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, at an investment level 23% lower than in 2015. Reports also claimed that the solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, waste-to-energy, small hydro and marine sources added to a massive 138.5 gigawatts to global power capacity in 2016.
Experts speculate that the continuation of relatively low prices of fossil fuel and several renewable energy technologies; improvements in energy efficiency and a continued rise in energy storage have undeniably set the grounds lucrative for renewable energy market players to invest in this sector.
How the 2GW Wind Catcher project in the Oklahoma Panhandle will impact U.S. renewable energy market?
The latest scoop that has made it to the headlines in the renewable energy industry is of the growing utilities interests in the Wind Catcher project in the Oklahoma Panhandle. For the record, GE Renewable Energy & Invenergy are conjointly building a massive 2 GW wind energy project, which upon completion, will not only be the largest wind farm in the nation but will also hold the title of second-largest wind farm in the world. According to reports, the USD 4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection project is entitled to generate clean energy from 800 of GE’s state-of-the-art 2.5 MW turbines that will be installed & operated by Invenergy. Sources familiar with the matter cite that the project is already under construction and is slated to commence its operations by 2020.
Further elaborating on the recent news updates, it has been reported that the Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) and the American Electric Power (AEP) wants to acquire the entire Wind Catcher project once all the turbines are up and operational. The utilities, as per reports, are seeking regulatory approval in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. The duo further aims to construct a high-voltage power transmission line to better serve SWEPCO and PSO’s more than 1.1 million customer base. In the backdrop of this scenario, analysts deem that the growing utility interest in such renewable energy projects highlights how far the wind industry has come with respect to reliability and cost.
Speaking along similar lines experts quote that these mega projects are indicative of the robust growth taking place in the U.S. wind energy market. In fact, the statistics released by the American Wind Energy Association reveals the U.S. wind industry to have recorded a total development hike of 40% in the Q2 of 2017 compared to the same period previous year – a fact bearing testimony to the prominent growth in U.S. wind energy sector.
The aforementioned trends vividly depict that the wind and solar sectors stand poised to reshape the renewable energy market trends. Further considering the rising pace of renewable energy installations in myriad regions, analyst deem that the competitive landscape of renewable energy market will not only witness intense participation form the core energy companies but also from the bigshots of the Silicon Valley who are massively investing in renewable energy sector.
Apple, for instance has invested in renewable energy, in a bid to carry out all its operations by 100% renewable sources. E-commerce industry giant Amazon is another in the line who has announced the construction of a 253 MW wind farm in West Texas. Google also is not far behind in the race and has invested in Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System and collaborated with SunPower to provide household solar panels. The changing competitive scenario remains as a major trend to watch for in the renewable energy market in the ensuing years. All in all, as the world witnesses a paradigm shift from a predominant hydrocarbon system to one where clean energy is beginning to build an influential business share, the global renewable energy industry overtly will garner phenomenal proceeds in the years to come.