Energy Scout, Issue 5 - February 2013

The Energy Scout newsletter informs professionals and laymen on the near-future of energy, particularly (but not only) the rise of clean and smart energy worldwide.

Aside: 2013 is bringing lots of interesting energy news, but this newsletter has been delayed by your host's other work; future issues will ratchet down to a monthly release cycle. Now without further ado:

General Energy

Clean Energy


  • The global bank UBS forecasts a boom in unsubsidized solar PV power (increasingly battery-backed) through 2020 - particularly in Germany, Italy, and Spain - based entirely on saving money and hedging against rising costs for households and businesses (and not due to subsidies nor eco-correctness). See an explanation of UBS' research, parts one and two.
  • Despite the proven results of renewable energy sources, many traditional sources of capital - i.e. banks - get skittish about investing at the slightest hints of uncertainty, prompting a global search for new RE financing approaches. REITs are one means, and being adapted now to solar.


  • The annual mega-energy-gathering, Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference (ADIREC), concluded in January, with most countries/ministers attending calling for a doubling of renewable energy usage by 2030.


  • Readers should know that in recent years, the learning rate of solar PV power systems is about 20% - meaning every doubling of solar capacity worldwide brings 20% lower prices, on average, or halving of prices every 3-4 years. There's plenty of new technologies to keep up that pace of innovation, including a gas-to-crystal process for solar's silicon wafers.

Smart Energy/Grid

  • A transactive energy system is one compelling possibility for the future of the grid: like how computing moved from a centralized and expensive system of big standalone mainframes, to a massively decentralized and interconnected world, the ongoing merger of Internet and distributed energy technologies could lead to a highly decentralized, peer-to-peer energy infrastructure. Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, has dubbed this the Enernet - watch his talk for a longer exposition.

Regional Notes






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