Dark days for renewable energy

April 3, 2009

We knew things were going badly in the renewable energy industry, but this week we got a grim view of just how ugly it looks out there.

Today, research group New Energy Finance said first-quarter investment in so-called clean energy fell 44 percent from the fourth quarter of last year, which in the immediate aftermath of the credit crisis wasn’t exactly stellar itself.

The $13.3 billion of investment in the most recent quarter was 53 percent below the same quarter of last year, the group said.

Things are particularly bad in the United States, where financing of new renewable energy projects was only $500 million in the first quarter compared with $2 billion in the fourth quarter of last year and $5 billion in the first quarter of 2008, according to New Energy Finance.

That report came a day after several other groups, including Deloitte and the Cleantech Group, gave their own views of first-quarter activity in clean tech. Though they had different authors, all the studies sent the same message: green investment is way down, and it’s unlikely to bounce back any time soon.

“The sector has been hit by an oncoming train,” New Energy Finance CEO Michael Lebreich said in a statement. “The industry has to get through some very difficult quarters until the stimulus funds start to flow.”

Companies including solar panel makers, wind turbine manufacturers and biofuels producers are all hoping that the U.S. government’s energy-focused economic stimulus plan will unlock lending for new projects such as wind farms and solar power plants.  Many analysts, however, say those funds may not materialize until the end of this year.

4 comments

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What I think truely, we the whole world should take the ongoing Global Economic Recession as an advantage to redefine our behaviour to diminish the dependancy over Fossil Fuel driven technologies and adopt more and more Environmentally Sound Technologis, so called ESTs, using renewable energies as Biomass, Geothermal, Solar, Wind, Hydro, and so forth. EST driven manufacturies and service industries is the only sustainable way to overcome the thinking pattern of the bubble growth in the fast lane.If the entire world, the developed and the developing countries implement a universal protocol to bare the cost in a collective manner and share the know how of those ESTs without any prejudice, I have no doubt that the Mother Earth will be safer and cleener place to be.

You couldn’t tell that from new business startups where I live in Colorado, USA. All kinds of technologies are represented, from wind energy (Vesta) to fuel efficient vehicles getting 43 kilometers per liter (LightningHybrids in Loveland). There’s a methane power plant at the old Saint Vrain reactor site, down by Denver, to help out the cow dung power plant. There’s green buildings going up everywhere. So there’s patches of growth here and there in the industry.Sure, we’re feeling the pinch, but IMHO, I believe it’s good for society to tighten the belt and get a bit hungry, especially here in the West. Things aren’t as they used to be that’s for sure.

There isn’t any more Environmentally-Sound Technology than Nuclear. It’s 100% clean and emits nothing—except for water vapors. The mythology of nuclear “Waste” is just that—mythology. The 80,000 tons of Spent Fuel Rods (SFR’s), accumulated in the US over the last 50 years, translate into 3,500 cubic meters, m^3, (specific gravity of Uranium about 20). For comparison, that’s the volume of a school gym (say, 40×20 m^2 of area and 4.4 m of height). This amount of SFR’s can easily be buried—-not for a million years, but forever—under the sea floor next to an existing nuclear power station such as the Diablo Canyon one which sits on the Pacific ocean coast. I suggest burying the SFR’s, enclosed in concrete container, say, 100 meters under the sea floor. The sarcophaguses they have been stored in, are currently kept ABOVE ground level in the plant’s backyard. As far as radiation, ten meters of water are enough to block ANY residual radiation.If we bother to process/renew these SFR’s, like France, Japan, and Britain, do, we’ll end up with about 50 times less waste (this is real waste), which I volunteer to bury in my backyard.As far as Fossil Fuels go, these have been storing the sun’s energy AND CO2 for us over the last 500 million years—since the Carboniferous geological era. That’s when the earth atmosphere contained 10-15 times more CO2 than it does today, which caused vegetation to grow explosively. As we should all know, CO2 is plants’ number-1 fertilizer; Photosynthesis converts CO2+water+sunshine energy into fossil fuels, such as Coal, Oil, and Gas. By the way, humans/animals can’t tell the difference until CO2 air concentration is above 12 times (1200%) of what it is today (0.05%). Our atmosphere is nowadays CO2-deprived. The more we recycle (burn) fossil fuels today and release their stored CO2, the GREENER the earth will become!!!

Posted by Ariana | Report as abusive

Domestic Solar Power…I agree with what you wrote here at Wind Blog ” Blog Archive ” Eco ENERGY for Renewable Power Program. Good points there….

The reason for this drop is the economy, but I think renewable energy is the key to the future. Wind energy will continue to be expensive, but we have to think long term. It may not be profitable for investors for decades and decades to come.

James Raymond…

I don’t normally leave comments! But what you said here makes one think! Would you mind if I placed a link back from my blog?…