As more and more traditional energy companies get into the renewables game and claim to be making these renewables the “centerpiece” of their business what does that really mean for the clean energy industry?
Without much deep thought my reaction is mixed. In the interest of not taking a stand on the issue (because I’ve yet to formulate a solid opinion), it’s both good and bad. $1.3bn is never a bad thing for an industry like solar that requires serious capital to advance the technology & manufacturing to compete with fossil fuels. Perhaps with both financial and market support of major traditional energy companies, solar can push into the mainstream. Who better to lobby and find a way to make renewables profitable than the traditional energy companies who can’t seem to stop making record profits.
On the other hand, it could go very bad for the renewable energy industry as a whole if traditional energy companies step in and take over. The same financial and market power that could propel the industry could just as easily kill the whole concept. As in the internet era there have been many great ideas bought up by large companies and promptly lost in the shuffle because they don’t fit seemlessly into the parent company model (ie. the company doesn’t know how to make money off the idea short-term). Somehow these great ideas resurface and succeed but only after many wasted years in corporate limbo.
I don’t consider the energy industry to be like the uncharted internet technology territory but there are similarities between the two if you consider that internet tech moves at the speed of a bullet and energy a like an arrow.
Unless the traditional energy companies are truly dedicated to making renewables the “centerpiece” of the business, excuse me if I don’t trust everything they put in press releases, the energy game changer will be an independent company that is dismissed as a “fad” or “gimmick” that shocks everyone when they figure out how to make it work and make it work BIG TIME!