Smart Energy: Five Metatrends to Watch in 2013 and Beyond says the smart energy paradigm is fast evolving from niche markets into a standardized part of the global energy portfolio. Oil majors, national governments, and technology developers have all reached the consensus that a more diversified energy mix is critical to sustainable economic growth in the future.
As a result of this development, combined with the shift toward an electron-based economy, a range of new energy sources and advanced energy technologies has entered the market and started to post healthy revenue. Together, these areas will garner revenue of nearly $250 million in 2017 (see chart).
Pike Research’s latest white paper examines these high-growth energy sources from a higher level and highlights five global trends that are emerging for 2013:
- Energy is becoming increasingly democratized. Distributed generation represents this democratization. As the Internet democratized information and knowledge, technology such as solar panels, small wind turbines and residential combined heat and power (resCHP) systems enables people to produce — and sell — their own power.
- The role of government innovation funds is changing. The hole left by the private equity markets will be filled by government-backed innovation funds in 2013.
- Technologies are converging. This means an increase in sales of renewable or alternative energy solutions into the off-grid mobile base station market.
- The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) is becoming the new BRIC. SAPP is a consortium of 12 utilities operating across 12 neighboring countries (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). Pike Research predicts cleantech investment in SAPP will reach about $10 billion in 2013. It says the total cleantech investment in the entire Middle East and Africa region between 2004 and 2011 was $11.8 billion ($2.4 billion in 2011).
- The role of utilities is changing. In some cases, utilities are moving away from being the central producer, distributor, and controller to being the purchaser and aggregator of power. The emergence of independent power producers, energy service companies and cooperative energy companies, in combination with the growth of feed-in tariffs for individuals, is driving this trend.