Clean Energy Predictions for 2010

Posted by: Mark Scott on November 04, 2009

The end of the year is fast approaching, so predictions for 2010 are starting to get the rounds. On Nov. 4, it was consultancy Deloitte’s turn to pull out its crystal ball. In a report entitled ‘Energy Predictions 2010’, Deloitte laid out trends it expects to take hold next year. Here’s a crib sheet for green business:

1) Smart grids/meters will take the world by storm. Annual global spending on the technology will jump to $33 billion by 2014 vs. $12 billion in 2008. That could increase electricity grids’ efficiency two-fold and reduce consumers’ energy consumption by 30%.

2) Oil-producing countries (particularly in the Middle East and North Africa) will become hotbeds for renewable energy. Close proximity to European markets, abundant cash to invest from oil revenues, and ideal weather conditions, especially for solar power, could pay off in a big way.

3) Sector-specific carbon cap-and-trade systems, say for the shipping or aviation industries, may take precedent over unwieldy national, regional, or global plans. Under the schemes, companies, wherever they’re based, would agree to binding targets, then trade carbon credits between themselves.

That sounds all well and good, but I’m not sure I agree with all the predictions.

The 'year of the smart grid/meter,' for instance, has been discussed for almost a decade. (Though government stimulus money earmarked for the technology certainly will push things forward). And the technological, political, and financial impediments of linking Middle East or North African countries into Europe's energy grid are daunting.

Yet the third idea of sector-based carbon trading makes a lot of sense. Lessons from Europe's scheme, let alone the ongoing dogfight over the proposed U.S. federal system, suggest a small, industry-focused plan could work better than trying to include everyone under the sun. And if the build-up to the post-Kyoto negotiations in less than a month isanything to go by, we all might be in for a big disappoint in early December.

So why not focus on individual, high-polluting industries like energy, chemicals, or aviation? For me, that prediction may well have legs.

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Reader Comments

Keemia

November 4, 2009 01:27 PM

The predictions are light on content. Nothing about cars? Nothing about transportation in general? hmm...

Clay Barham

November 7, 2009 12:59 PM

2008 saw what NASA called the Sun’s “blankest year” where 266 of the year's 366 days, there were no sunspots. Sunspot counts for 2009 have been very low, too. This all begs the question: does solar activity have a long-term effect here on Earth? Times of depressed solar activity correspond with times of global cold. From 1645 to 1715, few if any sunspots were seen and Western Europe entered a virtual deep-freeze known as the Little Ice Age. Times of increased solar activity have corresponded with global warming. The 12th and 13th centuries, when the Sun was active, European climate was quite mild. Experts predict that the current solar cycle will peak in 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots. The Sun should remain calm for at least another year. Of course, all this disruption is caused by the lighter-than-air carbon dioxide America has produced in the past few decades. These light gases rise to the sun and disrupt the magnetic causes for sunspots, altering the averages of sunspot activity. The effects on the under developed world is extreme, causing wars, famines and revolutions which disturb the compassionate dictatorships and the order they provide. It must stop! America must be shut down by the Obama Administration, beginning with elimination of the middle class and all its outrageous demands for goods and services. This makes as much sense as Al Gore's stuff.

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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