Tidal Energy is a niche form of Renewable Energy with less than 500 MW of Electricity Capacity worldwide.Tidal Energy generates less than .001% of the worldwide electricity generation as the Technology of this Alternative Energy is still quite immature.However numerous companies are researching ways to develop Tidal Energy as it offers almost unlimited potential at low costs and with no pollution.Tidal Wave Energy has not seen much commercial success except the almost 45 year old Tidal Wave Power Plant in France.South Korea is planning to build a number of Tidal Power Plants though the rest of the world has not given it much though.Here are the Top advantages of Tidal Energy.

  1. Renewable,non-Polluting and Carbon Negative – Tidal Energy is completely renewable,does not lead to any pollution of the air and does not lead to any carbon emissions like Fossil Fuels
  2. Predictable – Tidal Wave Energy is very predictable as the Tides rise with great uniformity.Other forms of Renewable Energy like Solar and Wind Energy are intermittent in nature.The electricity supply is much more uniform and reliable in case of Tidal Power
  3. No Fuel – Tidal Power needs Water for Generation of Electricity in its catchment area.It does not need fuel like Thermal,Gas or Oil Powered Power Stations
  4. Low Costs – Once a Tidal Energy Power Plant starts running,its costs are extremely low.The biggest Power Plant in France run by EDF works at 1.5c/Kwh which is lower than either nuclear or coal energy which are the cheapest forms of power
  5. Long Life – A Tidal Barrage has a very long life of around 100 years which is much longer than that of even Nuclear Power Plants.The long life implies that the lifecycle cost of a Tidal Energy Power Plant becomes very low in the long term
  6. High Energy Density – The Energy Density of Tidal Energy is much higher than that of other forms of Renwable Energy like Wind Power
  7. High Load Factor – The Load Factor for Solar and Wind Energy ranges from 15-40% which is quite low compared to Fossil Fuel Energy.Tidal Energy has a load factor of almost 80% which is equal to that of Thermal Power.

Summary

Tidal Power is an extremely good source of Renewable Energy,however the practical limitations of location,high investment and lack of technology advancement has made Tidal Energy a negligible source of Power globally.While some countries like India and South Korea have Tidal Power Plants in the planning stage,UK has killed the Severn Tidal Power Station because of high capital investments.However great potential exists for the growth of Tidal Energy due to its many above advantages.


Tidal Waver Energy is still an immature technology with most of the plants built around the world being pilot/demonstration ones.However Tidal Wave Energy holds big potential though it is still a decade away from reaching large commercial scale just like Algae based Biofuel and other forms of Green Technology.Tidal Wave Energy essentially works by converting the energy generated by tidal waves into electricity energy.Tidal Generators are  used to convert energy from tidal energy into a more useful form.Here are the following ways Tidal Generators are involved in producing Tidal Power.

Tidal Barrages

A Tidal Barrage or Tidal Power Station works using the same principles that is used in production of the mainstream hydro powered electricity.In this form of Tidal Power,a Barrage is built near the coast where water is collected during the periods of high tides.During low tide the barrage allows the water from the reservoir to move towards the ocean or sea.The potential energy of the water at a higher level is converted to electricity using Turbines.However this form of Tidal Waver Energy requires a large capital investment and takes a long time to build.Gujarat and UK are in the process of building a Tidal Wave Power Station using this form of Technology.However UK seems to have shelved it citing high costs.The biggest plant in the world in France however shows that the costs of electricity generated are extremely low at 1.5c/KwH.

Tidal Wave Energy is much more predictable than wind and solar energy and like these forms of renweble energy does not lead to pollution,global warming and does not require fossil fuels.Tidal Waver Energy however suffers from the fact that it can be only be built in specific areas which have high tides and ability to build barrages.Note DOE estimates that their are only 40 sites in the world which are capable of building tidal barrages to generate tidal power.

Tidal Turbines

Tidal turbines are a newer form of Tidal Wave Technology that are supposed to generate electricity on the same principles like Wind Turbines.Tidal Turbines are arranged in rows underwater where their are favorable wave current.The Tidal Generators then generate electricity when their blades are rotating.This energy is then transported to the mainland using massive cables to be ultimately transport to the main power grid.A number of private companies like Ocean Power Technologies are pioneering this form of Tidal Wave Technology.Note most of the research on this form of Tidal Technology are taking place in Europe with almost 100 private companies involved.

Summary

Tidal Wave Energy is still in its baby phase with the technology not developed far enough to make it a real alternative to fossil fuel energy.However like solar and wind power 20-30 years ago,Tidal Wave Energy can still develop to become a major form of alternative energy.There is already a lot of interest in Tidal Power and a number of companies are doing research.However Tidal Energy needs to increase its pace of development otherwise other dominant renewable energy sources may stultify it like geothermal energy.

Wind Power has become the biggest source of renewable energy in the world after Nuclear Energy (if you consider Nuclear to be renewable energy that is). The reason for the huge increase in wind energy has been the sharply falling costs which have roughly become equivalent to Gas fired Energy. While Solar Energy costs are still falling, they are still way above the costs of fossil fuel energy. Geothermal Energy is facing tough times and Geothermal Companies are looking to diversify into other lines of business. While Wind Power Energy has many advantages and it is seeing around 35 GW of capacity built each year, there are some disadvantages like persistently low volume noise and loss of scenery that has made its growth restrained.

Here are Pros and Cons of Wind Energy.

Pros Of Wind Energy

1) No Pollution and Global Warming Effects – Wind Turbines does not lead to pollution which is one of the biggest advantages of Wind Energy. Note there are costs associated with the equipment used to build and transport Wind Equipment but the running of Wind Energy leads to no pollution.

2) Low Costs – The Costs of Wind Energy has reached the level of Gas powered Energy and can be generated at extremely low rates of around 7-8c/KwH in favorable conditions.

3) Big Industrial Base – Wind Energy has become a mainstream source of energy and a large industrial base already exists. This allows a rapid deployment of Wind Power in most places in the world. The number of Wind Turbine Producers is increasing with a number of Asian firms entering the industry.

4) No Fuel Cost – Wind Energy does not require any fuel like most other sources of renewable energy. This is a huge advantage over other fossil fuels whose costs are increasing at a drastic  rate every year. Electricity prices are increasingly rapidly in most parts of  the world much faster than general inflation. Price shocks due to high fuel costs are a big risk with fossil fuel energy these days.

5) Offshore Advantage – The next big growth spurt in Wind Energy is coming from the offshore Wind Energy sector. Huge Wind Turbines of 5 MW and above are being built around 30-40 kms from the coasts. This has the advantage of no land usage, no noise problems and the wind is much better leading to higher load factors. The costs are currently higher but in the future are expected to come rapidly come down. USA has enough offshore wind potential to replace the whole fossil fuel electricity being consumed right now.

6) Small Wind Turbines gaining some traction – While Wind Turbines are not generally used in distributed form, it is possible to now use small wind turbines being built by a number of companies to power small establishments.

Cons Of Wind Energy

1) Low Persistent Noise – There have been a large number of complaints about the persistent level of low level noise from the whirring of the blades of a wind turbine. There have been cases reported about animals on farms getting affected by wind turbine noise.

2) Loss of Scenery – The sight of giant 200 meters tall towers has drawn objections from neighbors about wind power leading to loss of scenery and beauty. The Cape Wind Energy project off the shore of Massachusetts has been delayed by over 10 years as it has drawn serious objections from the owners of coastal homes about loss in their property values.

3) Land usage – Wind Turbines can sometimes use large amounts of land if not properly planned and built. The construction of roads to access the wind farms etc also takes up some land.

4) Intermittent Nature – Wind Power is intermittent in nature as it generates energy only when the wind blows. This problem can be solved with energy storage however this leads to additional costs.

Summary

The Pros of Wind Energy far outweighs the Cons of Wind Power leading to massive amounts of wind power capacity being installed in almost every part of the world. Wind Power already generates majority of the electricity in countries like Denmark and almost 1/5th in countries with proactive renewable energy policies such as Spain, Germany and Portugal. Wind Power has great potential in USA,China and India which are driving the growth of Wind Power in the world. South America particularly Brazil are also showing strong interests in building up wind farms in the country. The recent increase in the price of oil and the dangers of Nuclear  Energy further emphasize the importance of Wind Power Energy.

Greenworldinvestor Articles that expand on this one

  1. List of Top Wind Power/Turbine Companies/Stocks – Chinese Rising
  2. Ten Advantages of Biomass Energy – Oldest Alternative Energy Form gets back in vogue
  3. Indian Alternative Energy in 2010 sees strong 50% growth led by Wind Energy
  4. Advantages of Solar Energy – Declining Cost the Biggest One
  5. Gamesa Focuses on Bigger Turbines,Foreign Markets to Survive as Spanish Wind Market Declines
  6. Chinese Utilities Wind IPOs fail to escape the Green Curse as Huaneng Scraps,Datang Scrapes
  7. Lack of Government Support kills Clipper while putting rest of US Wind Industry in a Coma
  8. Vestas will Fire Expensive Danish workers from its Home Base in order to compete with Low Cost Asian competition
  9. Chinese Renewable Energy Company Ming Yang Wind Power to IPO in US – Should you Buy it
  10. Will China Dominate Global Wind like it is dominating Solar ; Europeans bleed while Chinese capture marketshare
  11. Vestas in red as competitive pressures increase in the Wind Industry
  12. Wind Energy in US hits an Air Pocket in 2010 due to Low Gas Prices and Federal apathy
  13. Suzlon Energy looks towards Middle Kingdom as a Panacea to all its Ills but can China Resurrect the Company
  14. Northrop Grumman joins other Global Shipbuilders in Tapping Offshore Wind Energy
  15. First Wind Holdings Review and Analysis – Pure Play USA Green Utility IPO looks a risky leveraged bet
  16. Why are Korean Shipbuilders Hyundai,Samsung and Daewoo making Wind Turbines?

A Clean Technology REIT is about to be launched which is going to invest in real estate which generates clean energy.The strategy is simple to invest in  properties which have green  energy power plants.Note Clean Tech Investing has yielded terrible results for public investors in the last couple of years.The failure of Copenhagen,Cancun Climate Meets and the Lehman crisis has led to a bloodbath for Green Investors.Don’t know how successful this strategy will be for I don’t know how much alpha a Clean Tech REIT can generate over a normal REIT.However the performance of DLR has been quite awesome over the last few years.

Green focused REITs like Digital Realty Trust (DLR) a REIT that builds, buys and operates data centers and Green Realty Trust, a REIT that focuses on investing in high performance buildings, such as those certified by Energy Star and LEED.

CleanTech REIT: Investing in Green Renewable Energy

A new real estate investment trust (REIT) will be taking an alternative approach to green building investing. The strategy of CleanTech REIT is to focus on investing in properties that produce renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric. These renewable sources of energy are expected to become more viable economically as fossil fuel prices continue to increase in the U.S. as they have recently. Indeed, some predict prices in renewable energies to achieve parity with those of fossil fuels to occur as early as 2015.

Indian Privately Owned Power Utilities are furiously expanding their capacities as India looks to treble its Power Generation Capacity in the next decade.The major power companies like Adani Power and Reliance Power are giving Tata Power a tough fight for the position of the biggest private Indian Utility.While these companies cannot hope to overtake state owned giant NTPC in this decade,they may do so in the next one.Note some of these companies are expected to grow almost 20 times in the next 10 years.Here  are the main contenders

  1. Tata Power is looking to double its capacity to around 6 GW from the 3 GW at present by March 2012
  2. Reliance Power is also looking to add around 5 GW from its around 1 GW present.Reliance Power with its 3 UMPP Coal Plants has the biggest expansion planned near term
  3. Lanco Power with around 2 GW has around 7 GW under construction
  4. Adani Power seems to be executing best with around 6.6 GW to come under steam in the next year with 1 GW under operations.Adani’s Mundra Power Plant seems well ahead in the construction timeline.

Note most of the power plants being built in India are coal ones with the power providers aggressively buying up coal mines in Indonesia,Australia and South Africa to increase fuel security.However in case of any global disruptions,India remains very vulnerable.However India’s policymakers are sleeping on this issue.It makes more sense to concentrate on those sources whose fuel security is high such as solar and wind power.Coal also faces the prospect of high carbon taxation as global warming becomes acute.Environmental issues related to power plants has already resulted in some being halted as local citizens agitate against the thermal plant’s negative effects on livelihoods and health.

Race quickens for top spot in PVT power

The race among the newer crop of private sector power producers to become the largest, displacing Tata Power, is gaining momentum. Among those aiming to catch up in the next two years are companies promoted by leading corporate houses such as Adani Power, Reliance Power, GMR Energy and Lanco Infratech.

Other corporate houses such as GVK, Sterlite Energy and Indiabulls are also developing power projects, but are unlikely to pose a threat to the front runners in the area of installed capacity in the near future.

Green Investing in India makes a great theme but investing in specific CleanTech companies is a tough task.Some of the biggest Renewable Energy Companies have led to serious losses eg. Suzlon or Moser Baer.However Renewable Energy in India has a great future and a rising tide will lift all boats.Note the list of solar power companies is growing by the day while there a number of wind energy companies in India as well.Then their are green utilities like Greenko,Orient Green Power that are building substantial alternative energy capacities as well.While writing about all the companies is big and probably not a very useful endeavor,here is a list o the Top 10 Alternative Energy/Clean Technology Companies in India.It is a subjective list and should be regarded as such.

1) Suzlon EnergySuzlon Energy is the biggest Wind Energy Company by far with 4-5 Gigawatts of WTG Capacity per year.Its subsidiaries Hansen Transmission and RePower are also big players in the Wind Energy in Europe.The Company has seen its revenues and profits take a huge hit in recent times but has been recoverin

2) Moser Baer – This is primarily a Solar Panel Production Company which has recently made a big bet to get into the Power Production Space as well.Moser Baer Projects Private in which the Blackstone Group made a $300 million bet  has plans of a 20:80 mix of Green and Dirty Power.

3) Tata Power / Tata BP Solar – The biggest private utility in India has big plans for Clean Energy as well.Its subsidiary Tata BP Solar is one of the biggest producers of solar panels and cells in the country.The company has huge plans in wind,solar and geothermal energy.It has also invested in a geothermal energy project in Indonesia..

4) Orient Green Power – This Chennai based company is the largest Green Utility in India with more than 200 MW of Renewable Energy Capacity mostly in Wind and Biomass.The company came out with one of the biggest IPOs in India in 2010.

5) Greenko This is one of the biggest Green Utilties in India with around 200 MW of Electricity Capacity predominantly in small hydro and biomass plants.It is listed London’s AIM Exchange and has a top notch managment team.Its recent performance has been quite good and it is expanding rapidly.

6) NTPC – The biggest utility in India will obviously be a big renewable energy generator in the future as well.While currently it does not have much of renewable energy capacity,it has lined up massive investments in hydro and solar power.Its trading arm NVVN is the nodal agency for dispersing funds for solar plants under JNNSM.

7) Kenersys – The company is part of the Baba Kalyani Group which is a major forgings manufacturer in India.It was bought over in 2007,when the Kalyani Group and PE firm First Reserve bought over the German company RSB Consult.The Company mainly  makes 2 and 2.5 MW turbines and has production facilities both in India and Germany.It has wind design capabilities between 1-3.6 MW and with a powerful parent, it could become a success in the future.Amongst the newer wind energy companies like Lietnar,RRB Energy,Regen and WinWind,it looks like the one with most potential.Note you can can an indirect exposure by investing in Bharat Forgings.

Summary

There are a number of other Green Companies like Lanco,Reliance Power that have the capacity to become big players once their solar plants are complete.Besides this foreign companies with a major presence in India are Siemens,Vestas,Gamesa,Enercon,Hong Kong Light and Power.Getting exposure to these companies requires investing in the home markets of their parents.