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Renewables & cleantech - May 19

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


From the sea, the new generation that comes in waves

Stephen Cauchi, The Age
IT HAS been called Australia's first underwater wave farm. The power of the ocean, Bass Strait, to be precise, will be harnessed to provide electricity for 500 homes on King and Flinders islands, with Tasmania and Victoria to follow if all goes well.

The two prototype units will be installed on the seabed near the two islands next year, following an agreement between Hydro Tasmania and Biopower Systems, the Sydney-based developer of the units.

... Philip Jennings, professor of energy studies at Western Australia's Murdoch University, said wave power could not match fossil fuels for electricity production but promised to be competitive with other forms of renewable energy. "It's one of the emerging technologies," he said.

"It's not as well-established as solar, thermal, wind and biomass, but it shows a lot of promise. I'd say of all the new technologies that have come forward in the past decade for renewable energy, geothermal and wind look the most promising. Australia has vast wave and geothermal resources, and they look like they've got a bright future, in Australia at least."
(18 May 2008)


Bartlett's bill would extend renewable energy tax credits

Meg Bernhardt, Frederick News-Post (Maryland)
U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is hoping to save two federal tax credits promoting alternative energies like solar and wind.

Bartlett, R-6th, whose district includes Frederick County, introduced a bill this month to continue the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy.

Those credits are set to expire this December.

The bill has 38 co-sponsors and is identical to a Senate bill that is co-sponsored by Maryland Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat.

But challenges remain about how to fund the credits, one of which gives a 30 percent investment credit for businesses that install solar or fuel cell equipment.

Democratic leaders favor finding new sources of tax revenue to pay for the credits, whereas Bartlett's bill does not include a source for new funding.

Lisa Wright, Bartlett's spokeswoman, said Bartlett was inspired by a New York Times column on the subject to introduce the bill.

She said the credits would eventually pay for themselves by encouraging industry growth in solar and wind.
(15 May 2008)
Rep. Bartlett is an Energy Bulletin contributor.


Germany Debates Subsidies for Solar Industry

Mark Landler, New York Times
... Thanks to its aggressive push into renewable energies, cloud-wreathed Germany has become an unlikely leader in the race to harness the sun’s energy. It has by far the largest market for photovoltaic systems, which convert sunlight into electricity, with roughly half of the world’s total installations. And it is the third-largest producer of solar cells and modules, after China and Japan.

Now, though, with so many solar panels on so many rooftops, critics say Germany has too much of a good thing - even in a time of record oil prices. Conservative lawmakers, in particular, want to pare back generous government incentives that support solar development. They say solar generation is growing so fast that it threatens to overburden consumers with high electricity bills.

Solar-energy entrepreneurs warn that reducing incentives will deprive Germany of its pole position in an industry of the future.
(16 May 2008)
Contributor Scott Chisholm Lamont writes:
This could be an interesting debate over how much a government (and by extension, the people of a country) is willing to support renewable energy, even if it entails monetary sacrifice.


4 New Wall Street Forecasts: #1 - Market for LEDs for Illumination Could Hit $3 B in 3-5 Yrs. vs. $600 M in ‘08

Energy Tech Stocks
The market for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for illumination has the potential to hit $3 billion over the next three to five years, compared with an estimated $600 million in 2008, according to Merriman Curhan Ford, an investment banking firm that heavily researches “clean” energy technologies. In one of a series of new reports, the Wall Street firm further forecasts that over the next 10 to 20 years the LED market could hit a whopping $20 to $30 billion.

Near-term growth will be fueled by “growth in existing applications” such as consumer electronics products and motor vehicles, while the long-term surge will be driven by the general lighting market. “The retrofit market probably represents the most attractive market opportunity, where the 5 billion Edison sockets in the United States could represent a $150 billion total addressable market,” according to Merriman Curhan Ford, which included not just the lighting but also the necessary power and control electronics in its assessment.
(19 May 2008)
Contributor Bill Paul writes:
We're also running the first of a four-part series hightlighting forecasts of truly spectacular growth in four "clean" energy sectors. The forecasts are from another noted Wall Street investment banking firm, Merriman Curhan Ford. Here's the link to the first of the four . The first is about LED lighting. The other three will be about 'cleaner' coal technology, energy storage and utility-scale solar power.

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