NextEra Energy Resources which was previously known as FPL Energy has bought a number of Solar Energy Generating Assets in the past few months.NextEra is the largest Renewable Energy utility in the USA with around 18 GW of Capacity out of which around 6.5 GW is Gas and 7.5 GW of Wind Powered Capacity plus 2.5 GW of Nuclear Energy.NextEra Energy with its long experience in Green Energy Generation has now decided to expand its Solar Asset Portfolio buying equity stakes in Solar Thermal as well as Solar PV Farms in USA and Canada.NextEra Energy is already the biggest Wind Energy Producer in the United States and on the way to become the biggest Solar Energy Producer as well.While Wind Energy is facing uncertain times in the USA,Solar Energy is growing at a rapid clip driven by the sharp fall in Solar Panel Costs which have more than halved in the last 2 years.
France has halted its solar feed in tariff bubble putting a moratorium on new applications for installing solar panels above for 3 kw installations.This has been done after applications for solar panels exceeded the 500 MW per year target set up by the French ministry.The Prime Minister called the solar feed in tariff subsidies reaching a “veritable speculative bubble”.France has already changed its solar feed in tariffs 2-3 times in 2010 as it tries to fine tune the subsidies so that renewable energy investors earn a decent return.However the fast decrease in solar panel prices has caught the bureaucrats off-guard which is not surprising.Feed in Tariffs in general have been badly designed by most public authorities around the world leading to huge bubbles.Czech has suffered from the biggest solar subsidy bubble on which it recently cracked down through taxes,50% cut in tariffs and other measures as electricity rates increased sharply as subsidies ballooned.Spain and Italy have found their Feed in Tariffs leading to runaway subsidies while Germany which has the most successful FIT program too had to cut FIT by a single ad hoc measure in order to prevent a bubble.
Note China has not passed a solar feed in tariff despite expectations amongst solar companies for a long time.China is a solar equipment leader with 60% of Solar Panel Production taking place in China.However 98% of the panels are exported making trading partners angry.High cost Europeans and Japanese companies have been almost driven away from the global solar market unable to compete with the Chinese solar majors.Solar Energy Demand in China is still minuscule compared to the world.Soaring Coal Prices,insufficient energy supply and carbon emissions have made China think of investing a trillion dollars into green industry.Solar however has not found sufficient love despite 280 MW national auction for solar projects.Wind Energy has grown exponentially in China and now accounts for 50% of the world demand.If the same thing were to happen to Solar Energy,the China’s Solar Demand would grow by 20 times.
USA Big Business is waging war on Wikileaks as one by one,top US Web Companies take measures against the whisteblowing website Wikileaks.Note Wikileaks has uploaded thousands of secret USA government cables in recent days which are making headlines daily.USA Diplomacy has become an open book causing huge headache for the US government.These Cables follow leaks on the Afghanistan and Iraq War.The US Government has said that it might put an espionage charge on Julian Assange the leader of the Wikieaks website and threatening him in myriad ways.Now USA Big Business has joined the government in making it very difficult for Wikileaks to continue under the cover of US Laws.
Coal Prices have started to increase in the international market alongwith other commodities like wheat,sugar,corn,gold,copper etc.But unlike other commodities,Coal has a disproportionate effect on Energy Prices.Note Coal is the principal supplier of top energy consumers like China,USA,India,Germany etc.The cheap price and abundance of coal has made it the fossil fuel of choice for generating electricity.The Technology for mining,processing and using coal to generate energy is well developed and cheap.This is the main reason for Coal’s growing use despite its reputation as the Dirtiest Form of Energy.Coal Mining also regularly leads to hundreds of deaths even in developed countries like USA and New Zealand.However Growing Carbon Emissions due to Coal and its Supply Shortages has resulted in looking for alternative forms.Clean Coal Technology and CCS are looked upon as means to try and improve the carbon footprint of Coal.However the CCS Technology remains immature and expensive as of now .
Spain is having difficulties with its fiscal deficit and finding it hard to sustain subsidies for Renewable Energy.The Markets in the West have also saturated themselves in terms of growth rates.Though low cost South Korean and Chinese Wind Turbine Producers have not penetrated the Western Markets yet,they could do so in the future.Gamesa which is a Top 5 Wind Energy Company has faced a turbulent year with the owners selling stakes and the share price taking a huge dive.Gamesa is one of the worst performing Wind Energy Stocks in 2010.Gamesa is looking to restructure its operations and concentrating on the offshore wind market by focusing on higher megawatt turbines.Gamesa is leading a massive Spanish Research Effort to develop a colossal 15 MW Turbine meant for the fast growing offshore wind sector.But this is a long term plan with 2020 set as the target for the complete development of this new Turbine.Meanwhile Gamesa has become the target of takeover speculation by one of the bigger Chinese Wind Turbine players like Sinovel,Goldwind etc.Gamesa has seen its revenue fall by 28% and profits by 71% with Operating Margins of 4-5%.Things don’t look too good for 2011 either though Orders have started ticking up.