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Energy Key Findings – Sept/Oct 2010

Military Seeking Alternative Fuel Solutions
Solar Power Taking Off
2011 Trends for Smart Grid

Military Seeking Alternative Fuel Solutions

The U.S. military, the single largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world, is seeking fuel alternatives due to the risks around fossil fuel prices and supply security. For example, as crude oil prices jumped in 2008, the Navy’s annual fuel costs skyrocketed to $5.1 billion that year, up from $1.2 billion in the prior year. The U.S. Navy is now planning to meet half of its energy needs for ships and planes with renewable energy sources by 2020, requiring some 8 million barrels of biofuel.

Solar Power Taking Off

Solar photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers produced a record 10,700 megawatts of PV cells globally in 2009, reflecting a 51% increase from the year before. This growth was slower than the 89% expansion in 2008, but it continued the rapid rise of an industry that first reached 1,000 megawatts of annual production in 2004. By the end of 2009, almost 23,000 megawatts of PV had been installed worldwide, enough to power 4.6 million U.S. homes.

In the U.S., less than 1% of the electricity is solar powered. Despite the sluggish economy, 944 megawatts of solar electric capacity – composed of 866 megawatts of PV and 79 megawatts of CSP (concentrated solar power) – will be installed in the U.S. by the end of 2010. This is more than double the 441 megawatts of solar electric capacity added in 2009.

2011 Trends for Smart Grid

Smart grid technology involves power production, storage and delivery at “smart” times for maximum efficiency. The smart grid is important because it is a means to adapt the electrical infrastructure to help fight climate change and meet energy independence and security needs. The following chart shows the smart grid trends to watch for in the upcoming year.

Ten Smart Grid Trends to Watch in 2011

  • Security will become the top smart grid concern
  • Distribution Automation will rival AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) as the most visible smart grid application
  • The “Bakersfield Effect” will continue, but some consumers will actually like the smart grid (The “Bakersfield Effect” is a term meaning consumers assume that a smart grid will cause a spike in their utility costs)
  • Smart meter and AMI focus will shift toward Europe and China
  • The “Year of the HAN (home area networks)” will not arrive…yet
  • The Demand Response business transformation will accelerate
  • The ARRA (American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009) smart grid “stimulus” will finally have a positive impact
  • The standards “horse” will begin to catch the deployment “cart”
  • Data management will be the next bottleneck to the smart grid benefits
  • Existing data and telecom vendors will get serious about the smart grid

Source: Pike Research


  • One in ten cell phone owners (10%) use location-based services on their device at least once a week. They use it most frequently to locate nearby points of interest, shops or services.
  • Almost one in five American households (19%) claim they are likely to buy or lease a new vehicle in the last six months of 2010. Most (61%) say they would consider buying one that runs on alternative fuel, with 40% being concerned about a car’s environmental impact, and 43% trying to save money on gas. The other 16% say that the environment and cost saving are equally important to their purchase decision.

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