by Penny Lin, Associate at Amoo, and Saurabh Saxena, Senior Associate, (edited by Godman Usman, Analyst)
As the global stage increasingly reacts to climate change and environmental concerns, many priorities in the clean tech market are rapidly shifting. With the US economy stabilising, stringent emissions limits looming in the EU, and the newly aggressive role from clean energy, utilities, plus investments into emerging Asia (particularly in China), there is a sense of facing the inevitable and rethinking how to do business in a greener way.
The importance of sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmental impacts have been rising across a wide range of sectors and industries. Take the telecom sector for instance where diesel oil powers off-grid base stations; each station is expected to consume twenty thousand litres per year. Diesel-powered stations are often seen in emerging countries where the mobile markets are growing significantly. In turn, the energy cost has been the largest cost item for mobile telecom operators, while there is still room for the development of green energy in this sector to reduce the energy cost without the expense of the environment (source).
The solar segment has seen the greatest change in past years, in terms of the number of companies, and turnovers, followed by wind energy. However, due to the continual shortage of financing, the market does not expect a significant supply of investments going into sub-sectors solar and wind. In China, the biggest solar panel maker – Suntech - is now under bankruptcy stress. Prehaps an ominous sign for the industry, with a number of analysts now predicting an industry collapse or consolidation within both sub-sectors (source).
Uncertainties around the performance of new technologies and the security of future energy savings or production levels remain for alternative energy and energy efficiency projects, leading to a conservative lending environment. Promisingly, investors and companies still have appetite for clean tech investments but, there has been a switch in focus from bleeding-edge solutions to workable technologies that can be funded and brought to market quickly. Corporate ventures may start to play a more proactive role to meet two-things; the funding gap within the capital markets and also to support the parent companies meet legislation requirements and government policies.
Regulations and tax
Companies need to develop business strategies to ensure they assess the emerging risks and opportunities, and adapt to the challenges of operating within a low-carbon economy and in a business environment that is increasingly intolerant with the uses of excessive waste and hazardous materials. Political and legal pressures, in addition to the economic and reputation benefits, are positively driving businesses towards the green economy. Europe for example, offers tax incentives, while enhanced capital allowances are available to businesses for certain energy-saving technologies. One of which, enables a business to claim a 100% first-year capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery.
Further regional legal standards are to be established. By the end of February, the European Union voted in Brussels on green tech laws. Member states discussed proposals that could force greater focus on energy efficiency. The strict eco-requirements on IT equipment are scheduled to take place shortly. For instance, it could force firms to meet efficiency levels for a number of devices. This could be as far-reaching as the overall architecture down to requiring the use of GPU components to be power self-generators (source). The development of sub-sectors solar and wind energy would still lead the global renewable energy industry, although the cash-constrained situation may deter funds-providers elsewhere. In order to further accelerate the resource and energy efficiency, innovative technology for energy saving is necessary. We believe, with what Future Energy Leaders identified at 2013 World Energy Issues Monitor that the unconventional, renewables and energy storage technologies as critical issues and should be the key drivers for the future.