It's been a pretty good week for the renewables sector.
Of course, if you're feeling pessimistic on this fine Friday afternoon you could counter that every week needs to be a good week for the renewables sector when the International Energy Agency claims that we need to invest $45tr in alternative energy by 2050, building 17,500 wind turbines a year in the process. But let's try to look at the positives.
The UK government's dream of powering every home in the country from offshore wind farms took a major step towards becoming a reality this week when the Crown Estate outlined plans to license large swathes of the seabed to wind farm operators.
The business models behind such developments may still be dependent on generous subsidies and there may still be huge infrastructure challenges to overcome, but that has not stopped a number of firms already expressing an interest in the licenses. Moreover, the British Wind Energy Association is convinced that a number of new start ups are also poised to enter the offshore market soon.
Meanwhile, the solar sector is also continuing to go from strength to strength with DuPont predicting solar sales will hit $1bn a year by 2013 and Bosch shelling out €1.1bn to break into the market with the acquisition of ersol.
If last week I argued that soaring fuel prices would mean that alternative energy technologies would become cost competitive far faster than many expect, then the sheer scale of the emerging renewable energy companies provides the flip side of that equation. They may be getting a leg up from generous subsidies and new legislation, but the economies of scale that they are building combined with the support they are now receiving from established multinationals such as Bosch should soon begin to impact production costs, bringing grid parity ever closer.
Right, I'm off to try and work out if drinking fizzy drinks really could save the world.
Have a good weekend,
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