Full Title: Trends to Watch in Alternative Energy: Firmly Entrenched in the Mainstream, Alternative Energy’s Momentum Accelerates
Author(s): Marlene Motyka and John McCue
Publisher(s): Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions
Publication Date: January 1, 2016
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In recent years, there has been much discussion of alternative energy moving into the mainstream. While it hasn’t yet shed the “alternative” label, alternative energy’s shift to the mainstream is largely complete and likely irreversible. Despite continuing uncertainty over policy incentives and competition from historically low natural gas prices, alternative energy’s momentum continues to accelerate. In the case of wind and solar power, growth is regularly outpacing projections. Alternative energy sources still face the aforementioned roadblocks and perhaps a few emerging ones, but the industry continues to move forward and the overall outlook for growth is strong due to both longstanding and new trends.
As we detail in the following pages, new sources of support are broad-based. Innovative business models like community solar are widening the addressable market and attracting potential new customers and providers. New state and utility imperatives to ensure electric grid resiliency are encouraging adoption of distributed renewable generation. Corporations are increasingly doing their part by pledging to generate as much as 100 percent of their power from renewable sources in the coming years. And federal and state governments are introducing policies– such as the Clean Power Plan and New York’s “Reforming the Energy Vision”–that pave the way for further growth.
Of course, as the share of power generated by intermittent sources like wind and solar grows, concerns about utilities’ ability to maintain power quality and reliability on the electric grid increase, but technological advances are easing this transition. For alternative energy companies themselves, rapid growth may prompt questions such as whether they are prepared for the organizational implications around learning and development, culture, performance management, and workforce readiness that result from rapid growth. Their success is also bringing another kind of attention, with wind and solar power asset acquisitions steadily growing and more potential purchasers waiting in the wings.