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The Rise of Renewables

Oilfield Technology,

During the past few years, renewable energy has continued to rise in prominence and represents a growing piece of today’s global energy market, fuelled by greener politics and the need to improve energy supply and mitigate environmental risk.

The global market for renewables is forecast to rise from US$225 billion in 2010 to US$ 331 billion by 2015, according to ELECTRONICS.CA’s report ‘Global Markets for Renewable Energy’.

This growth represents a number of opportunities for the energy supply chain with the list of emerging technologies for extracting energy from the environment continuing to evolve from offshore and onshore wind, to solar, geothermal, biomass, and wave and tidal energy.

The EIC’s dedicated project database, EICDataStream, which tracks more than 8500 active and future projects across the global energy supply chain shows that there are currently 965 active renewables projects and a further 894 projects proposed for future development. Almost a third of these opportunities are within the EU.

Renewables clearly represent a growing and significant piece of the energy market. Our latest quarterly global energy industry report, EIC Monitor, highlighted 225 new projects announced in Q1 2011 in the renewables sector worldwide with a total potential investment value of US$ 152 billion. While not all of these projects will secure the funding and planning consents they need to get off the ground, the long-term trajectory for renewables remains encouraging.

So which sectors of the global renewables market are seeing the most activity? EICDataStream shows that the lion’s share of active and future projects can be found in the wind, hydro and solar sectors.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is the largest sector of the global renewables market representing more than half of the total number of active and future projects. According to REN2, the global policy network, wind power is growing at 30% annually.

Interest in the construction of offshore wind farms is rapidly gaining momentum and while the UK continues to lead the way globally, offshore wind power is also growing in Europe as a whole, particularly in Germany and Sweden. Outside of Europe the key markets for wind can be found in North America, China and Brazil.

The largest global project is the collection of projects that make up the Round 3 UK offshore wind farm which will see installations scattered around strategic locations off the UK coast representing more than US$ 170 billion potential investment. The UK has 446 active and future offshore and onshore wind projects valued at US$ 272 billion.

Solar Energy

The solar energy project figures from EICDataStream are massively dominated by a single potential project in North Africa, the Desertec solar power project, valued at US$ 553 billion. Outside of this project, the USA is the most dominant country for solar energy with 69 projects valued at US$ 60 billion. The largest of these is the California solar thermal plants in Blythe and Ridgecrest, with a 1GW capacity plant under construction and valued at US$ 6 billion.

Hydroelectric Energy

The workhorse of renewable energy, hydroelectric power, continues to grow, in no small part because of contracts signed and financing secured before the recent recession.

EICDataStream shows there are 276 active and future hydropower projects valued at US$ 370 billion. There is a lot of activity in Brazil with 23 projects valued at US$ 52 billion.

Other forms of renewable energy such as wave and tidal energy are on the increase too, with Europe and in particular the UK leading the world in this sector. The drive towards low carbon generation will continue to fuel interest and growth in the renewables sector for decades to come.

Later this year, the EIC will be putting some of the many renewable energy opportunities under the spotlight at EIC Connect Power (23 - 24 November 2011, Olympia Exhibition Centre, London), which we are hosting in association with UK Trade & investment (UKTI), the government’s international business development department. The event will connect leading global operators and contractors in the conventional, nuclear and renewable sectors with hundreds of companies from the UK supply chain and will help foster the development of new business opportunities

Author: Mike Major, Chief Executive, The EIC (Energy Industries Council)

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