Posco,one of world’s largest steel producers has been trying to enter the solar market like its other Korean brethren.Note South Korea has been really pushing the Green Industry in the country giving all sorts of incentives to Wind Energy,Electric Vehicles,Solar Energy etc.Korean conglomerates have responded by making huge investments into all sorts of Green Sectors.LG and Samsung have already established crystalline solar cells lines alongwith Hyundai.Hanwha has made a big bang acquisition of the 4th largest Chinese module producer Solarfun while OCI Polysilicon is on its way to become the 2nd largest producer of polysilicon in the world.Posco made its intention known about entering the solar market when it made a play for the Norwegian poly producer Elkem.This was a surprising decision considering that Posco’s core strenght of steel making has little to do with production of polysilicon.
Marubeni on the other hand is looking to focus its energy on the crucial Water Service Sector be expanding its footprint in emerging markets.Water Service is a great growth sector due to numerous demand drivers like increasing population,larger per capita requirements,decreased supply.There is already a lot of theories floating around that the next big wars in the 21st century will be due to water shortages.Marubeni has plans to spend around $300 million in acquisitions in foreign markets as it looks to increase its customer base to 10 million.Note Marubeni will be helped by the Japanese government which gives considerable aid and soft loan for water infrastructure projects in developing countries.Note French companies Suez and Veolia are the biggest water service companies in the world.
Using the same logic,I had questioned the massive amount of USA taxpayer money being given as a cash grant to build almost 4-5 GW of Solar Thermal Plants in California.Most of these solar thermal projects were approved in the last 6 months of 2010 so that they could be eligible for the Treasury Cash Grant under Rule 1603.I seem to have been vindicated quite early with 2 of these giant solar thermal projects being developed by Tessera Solar have run into trouble.The CEO of the company has already left and many of the employees have been fired.Strange for a company that has won multi billion projects in hand.The parent Irish company NTR is reportedly looking to shelve the plants as it does not have enough money for 5% of the total project costs required before 2010 end.
Taiwan which had set a cap restricted solar feed in tariff program in 2009 is set to change the subsidies to reflect the decreasing costs of solar energy.Note Taiwan is one of the biggest solar cell producers in the world,next only to China.A number of its world class companies like TSMC and AUO have made major investments into solar energy recently.It already has big pureplay solar cells companies with Gintech and Motech amongst the top 10 world solar cell producing companies.A big domestic market is a good testing ground for new companies and technologies.Taiwan is now set to change renewable energy subsidies for wind and solar energy.Solar Energy subsidy for 2011 will be lowered while for wind energy it will be increased.Renewable Energy in Taiwan – Feed in Tariffs Wind to be strangely Increased while for Solar Sensibly Decreased
Japan and China has suffered from perhaps the most tense relationships with the Japanese occupation of Chinese territory during World War 2.China recently embargoed the export of crucial rare earth minerals in which it has a virtual monopoly causing great distress amongst Japanese administrators.China’s military has started to become more and more sophisticated with China even now becoming an arms exporter of low tech weapons.With growth in Chinese economy,the technology sophistication of Chinese weapons systems has also grown.Close relations between China and Russia have also led to sale of front-line weapons systems such as the Sukhoi 35 fighters to China.It is no wonder that Japan is started to reorient its Defence towards China from Russia.Greater emphasis is being placed on the Air Force and Navy rather than on the Army.Note Japan is protected by the US Nuclear Umbrella and has US Forces stationed on its soil.However,declining USA military power (bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan) has made Japan beef up its own defences.Note India too has strengthened its border forces with China stationing new fighter squadrons in the Himalayan region.
Utilities trying to spinoff their Renewable Energy Subsidiaries have faced a very tough 2011 with many of the plans being scrapped.The Utilities which have managed to list have done so at much reduced valuations and have seen their stock prices erode after listing.Enel Green Power which was the biggest Green Utility to IPO in 2010 managed to to so after massive delays and lowering its stock price 2 times.Orient Green Power in Indian and First Wind Holdings of USA which were pureplay Green Utilities also saw very tough times with First Wind being forced to scrap its capital raising plans.China’s Datang and Huaneng Group which were planning to list their Green Subsidiaries in Hong Kong for a long time faced a big question as well.Both these large state owned utilities have huge wind power assets which are forecast to grow at a tremendous rate over the next decade.The prospects are good for both these green utilities as wind turbine prices have been falling as a result of sharp competition amongst WTG companies in China such as Ming Yang Power.