This week, AEE released Advanced Energy Now 2015 Market Report, our annual report on the size and scope of the advanced energy industry, both globally and in the United States. Advanced energy is a nearly $1.3 trillion global industry, and growing rapidly—in the U.S., the advanced energy industry grew five times as fast as the national economy overall. If more proof is needed that advanced energy is one of the world’s leading growth industries, we got it in the news this week, which features exciting developments in offshore wind and huge numbers from the world of solar. Also, thanks to AEE member Opower, we now know what happens to a solar-powered country during a solar eclipse.
It’s looking like Rhode Island might win the race for offshore wind. Earlier this month, Deepwater Wind LLC announced that it had received $290 million in a round of financing that will allow construction to begin on its project off Block Island. The money quote? “We’ll have steel in the water this summer,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said in an interview with Renewable Energy World. That timetable is consistent with what Grybowski laid out in October at American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Windpower Conference, saying, “This is the year it happens. We are nine months away from the installation of our first foundations.”
Offshore wind was also featured recently as one of our Advanced Energy Technologies of the Week.
Two new reports confirm that solar energy is continuing on an upward trajectory, growing exponentially with no sign of stopping. A new report (PDF) out this week from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that U.S. solar generation doubled in 2014. As Jeff St. John points out, writing in Greentech Media, “that’s not counting rooftop solar or distributed renewables.” EIA tracks utility-scale installations, and does not track new installations smaller than 1 MW, meaning almost no residential, commercial, or community installations made it into the analysis. (As noted in our 2015 Market Report, distributed generation – defined by Navigant Research as non-utility scale solar, wind, fuel cell, and natural gas generator sets – accounted for $6.3 billion in U.S. revenue in 2014.)
For a more complete view of solar energy growth, GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association collaborated to produce the 2014 Year-In-Review report. This year’s report shows the incredible growth in U.S. solar over the past decade. “As engineers, we often deal with ‘order of magnitude’ questions,” observed Ryan Katofsky, Director of Industry Analysis for AEE. “These data show that the market is two orders of magnitude, i.e. 100 times, larger in 2014 than it was in 2004.”
Figure: U.S. Annual PV Installations, Q1 2000 - Q3 2014 Source
Finally, from AEE Member Opower, we get an answer to the question, “What will happen when the world’s most solar-powered nation experiences a solar eclipse?” Next Friday, March 20, a solar eclipse will blot out most of the sun across Europe. This will be especially interesting for Germany, as the country’s 1.4 million solar systems produce nearly 7% of the nation’s power. Check out the full blog post here, but suffice it to say: nothing that grid operators can’t handle.
Want a full view of the advanced energy industry? AEE’s new 2015 Market Report, just out this week, demonstrates the full size and scope of the industry, in the U.S. and worldwide.