Trends in the Renewable Energy Business

Trends in the Renewable Energy Business

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2688-9.ch005
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The renewable energy business increase its volume each year due to the technology development and due to new business opportunities based on international (e.g., EU) and national support schemes, that have the goal to reduce the CO2 and other emissions of GHG. This chapter presents the main trends in the renewable energy business with main focus on the PV and H2 business. The objective of this chapter is to design a picture of the future of the renewable energy and not only. It is a view of the future of our planet in a dynamic environment characterized by proliferation of new renewable energy installments that are more personalized due to the diffusion of new information and communication technologies (IoT, Big Data, Smart grid) and new business models. The chapter offer an answer regarding to the future of renewable energy business in general, and to the future of PV and H2 business in special.
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Future challenges for companies are to identify new trends in a timely manner and to incorporate them into the management process. Management process means developing strategies, changing or developing existing or new business models and the operative work on the projects to get the ideas successful and profitable on the market.

Trends are a pattern of gradual change in a condition, output, or process, or an average or general tendency of a series of data points to move in a certain direction over time, represented by a line or curve on a graph. A trend is nothing more than a change of movement or a change process. The basic direction into which is something develops. Trends are only useful if we can dimension and classify them correctly.

You can find trends in the most varied areas of life - from the economy to the politics to the consumer world. Therefore, trends are to be arranged differently and cognitively anchored: they only make “sense” when we look at them in their respective environment and reference systems.

Trends can be classified as follows.

In 1982 the term “Megatrend” was coined by the American futurologist John Naisbitt (Naisbitt 1982). Naisbitt is one of the most recognized trend and future researchers.

Naisbitt originally defined:

Megatrends ... [are] large social, economic, political, and technological changes … they influence us for some time - between seven and ten years, or longer.

Megatrends are long-term, they are not finished after two years, but they can influence decades. A megatrend influences our social world view; it influences our values and our thinking. It is an exciting and not finally discussed question whether a megatrend can change a value or whether a value change initiates a megatrend. A megatrend can fundamentally influence the supply and demand of a product or service. In most cases, it affects the political and economic position of entire sectors, organizations and countries. In the past, the concept of an “epoch” would have been used, but now it is apparent that different, sometimes even contradictory, megatrends can overlap and that they can have different effects in different regions of the world and in different social milieus.

Megatrends are long-term and encompassing change processes, effective influencing variables that shape the markets of the future. They differ from other trends by their long-time horizon, by their reach and their effectiveness. As a stable driver of change, Megatrends are often the starting point for strategic-foresight and innovation-foresight processes.

There is a variation of different megatrends. One megatrend is the change in energy and resources. In a WWF study, they defined megatrend in global energy transition (WWF, 2015).

  • Sociocultural Trends: These are medium - term change processes, People’s feelings of life are shaped by social and technological change, but are also strongly reflected in consumer and product worlds. The larger of them have a half-life of about 10 years.

  • Trends in Time or Consumption: Are rather short-term “infection trends”, which have a fashionable character, but can also reflect sociocultural or value-change processes.

  • Micro Trends: Styles in the area of design and self-design consumerism and habitual phenomena (Horx, 2007).

If the trends are derived from the investments in the renewable energy business sector, the following picture emerges (UNEP BNEF, 2016). For Wind and Solar (PV) nearly 90% of the investment goes in these technologies. Biofuels, Biomass, Small hydro geothermal and marine (ocean) RES are only a small portion.

The view to the growth of RES by countries looks completely different. China has the highest growth in new renewable energy investment in compare to 2014 figures. Germany and other European countries having a negative growth rate since 2014.

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