How appropriate it was to hear Sam Bodman, the Energy Secretary under the Bush administration, make the following statement last week in regards to Obama’s plan to double our output of renewable energy in three years….
“I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to get there in three years. I’m not saying you can’t do it. It depends on how much money you spend. We have spent a lot of money, but could you spend even more and can you throw more (government) money at it? You could. I don’t think it’s wise myself, because I think we’re spending about at the rate which makes sense.”
Well certainly we should listen to what Bodman thinks is wise and what is not. After all, while he attempts to interfere with progress by making such statements, our entire energy infrastructure is crumbling, our natural gas supplies continue to dwindle, we don’t have nearly enough engineers and skilled labor to expand nuclear development the way they claim we can, and our decision-makers (until very recently) have been under the false assumption that we have 250 years worth of coal reserves. That’s what happens when you allow lobbyists to present you with data and dictate your policies.
So excuse me if I think Bodman should keep his mouth shut at this point, and let the new administration at least attempt to make some progress here.
Listen: Certainly no one should expect such a massive transition to be easy or cheap, but to downplay it from the start (the way Bodman did) represents nothing more than a defeatist attitude, likely based on the former Energy Secretary’s lack of desire to effectively begin the process of transitioning our energy infrastructure to one that is cleaner and more sustainable.
Of course, just this past Friday, International Energy Agency Executive Director, Nobuo Tanaka told Reuters that while Obama’s plan is very ambitious, it is also attainable. According to Tanaka, mobilizing the private sector to invest is a key issue, and a framework or incentives is very important.
We couldn’t agree more. And given the reality of our fossil fuel depletion, there is little doubt that the new administration – complete with its loyal renewable energy supporters on both sides of the aisle – will now move forward with a framework and incentives to spark large-scale renewable energy development.
Of course, as investors, we also need to remember that this is a global transition. And while the naysayers will continue to pound their fists to thinning crowds, we will focus on the data that proves renewable energy integration – on a global scale – is not only happening…but will continue to happen at a rapid pace.
The most recent data, by the way, comes from the offshore wind sector.
According to GlobalData, only four countries accounted for a share of total offshore wind power in 2000. These were Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, and Sweden. As of 2008, however, twelve countries have installed offshore wind farms, moving the industry from 35 MW in 2000 to 1,484 MW in 2008.
Over the next two years, the world’s offshore wind power installed capacity is expected to reach more than 6,400 MW. This will account for more than eight percent of the total wind power capacity additions in 2009 and 2010.
So which countries are going to take the lead this year? And more importantly, which companies will be developing these offshore giants?
The UK, which was the largest contributor in 2008 (in terms of cumulative offshore wind power capacity), has nine new projects expected to reach completion by 2010. With a cumulative installed capacity of 1396 MW, the developers include…
* Airtricity Holdings
* Warwick Energy
* Eclipse Energy UK
* Dong Energy
* EDF Energy
* SLP Energy
* E.ON UK.
Denmark, which ranked second largest in 2008 has two projects expected to reach completion by 2010. With a combined installed capacity of 359 MW, these projects will be developed by Dong Energy and Sund & Baelt Holdings.
Germany, Canada, Belgium, Sweden, Estonia, Poland, China and Spain also have new projects expected to reach completion in 2010. And the U.S. has two as well. Combined, these two projects are expected to deliver an installed capacity of 462 MW. The projects are being developed by Bluewater Wind and Winergy Power.