Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Part 1: Live from the Power-Gen Renewable Energy & Fuels Conference

Today I was lucky enough to check out the Power-Gen Renewable Energy & Fuels Conference in Las Vegas, the largest all-renewables conference and exhibition in the nation. The morning keynote addresses included some big players in the renewable energy field. I was late getting to the conference at Mandalay Bay (I got lost twice - argh) but walked in just as Horizon Energy’s CEO, Alec Dreyer, was characterizing his company’s most recent wind projects:
“These aren’t wind farms. These are power plants.”
Dreyer, who joined Horizon about 18 months ago and has a background in power plant development, reports that the wind energy industry is booming in the United States for six reasons:
  • Energy demand: Increasing demand needs to be met with new energy sources
  • Global warming: Carbon dioxide emissions are a major concern
  • Environmental benefits: Wind is clean, renewable energy
  • Energy costs: Wind is competitive with fossil fuels prices, like natural gas
  • Rural economics: Wind is a new crop for farmers and a steady, reliable, predictable flow of revenue
  • Energy security: Wind is local and homegrown
A business-as-usual scenario predicts that 45,000 MW of wind will be built by 2015 (current installed capacity is nearly 12,000 MW). But Dreyer believes that the U.S. market is not in a business-as-usual scenario, and that in fact we will see at least 100,000 MW in the next 8 years. With more states adopting favorable policies like renewable energy standards and Congressional bipartisan support for wind, Dreyer is confident that we’re at the front end of a large wind power boom that will offer investors more predictability and security.

It’s not all wine and roses, of course. Challenges for the wind power industry include the increasing costs of turbines, raw materials, and construction. Logistics must be sorted out as well: Are there enough cranes in rural areas to lift 450 foot towers? How many turbines towers and blades can be shipped cross-country? Many turbine parts are manufactured in Europe: How many ships do we need to carry them over?

The next guest was Cameron “Mac” Moore, the Regional Head of the North American Conergy Group. Moore discussed Conergy's expansion from a company that originally focused solely on solar power to one that provides services in almost every renewable energy industry. To support this burgeoning market, Americans shouldn’t be asking “Can more renewable energy be done?” but “How much renewable energy do we want? How fast can we do it?”

Companies around the globe must collaborate to strengthen the industry as quickly as possible.
With the stars aligned in terms of public policy, technology and science, Moore explained, the United States is considered the next big renewable energy market.

Coming up: Industry analysis from the Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a pitch to renewable energy companies from the Governor of Nevada.

For more coverage of the Conference, see Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Horizon's representative failed to mention the huge government financial subsidies which their industrial wind turbine projects are sucking in... The federal treasury loses over $2-million for each of the 2-MW machines that Horizon builds - 2/3 of the total cost of a wind project is recovered via federal tax shelter provisions.