Where to find energy efficiency business opportunities

By Elisa Wood February 2, 2011 No one would disagree that this is a good time to be in the energy efficiency business. Another report, this one out last week, signals just how good. Conducted by Comverge, the survey of more than 100 US utilities found that 92% plan to increase their efficiency budgets by at least 10% in 2011. Comverge also found … [Read more...]

Northeast US a smart energy testing ground

By Elisa Wood August 19, 2010 Ben Franklin’s saying, “Out of adversity comes opportunity” seems to characterize the energy sector in US Northeast. Electricity rates are among the nation’s highest. Population density leaves scant room for new power plants and transmission lines.  And the region has little indigenous generation fuel. So what’s the … [Read more...]

Congress: Start the energy revolution without me

By Elisa Wood August 5, 2010 Congress has considered some big plans for energy since Obama took office:  carbon cap and trade, renewable and energy efficiency standards, cash for caulkers. But at this point it looks unlikely Congress will make any major policy changes this year; next year doesn’t look so good either. But maybe it doesn’t … [Read more...]

Smart meters: Truly a cure for energy blindness?

By Elisa Wood July 1, 2010 And now for a dose of reality. No doubt smart meters are a good thing, but even their most ardent fans must admit that a degree of hoopla surrounds these little digital boxes. We hear that if consumers can just see how much power they use in real time, and what it costs, our energy woes will be no more. Smart meters … [Read more...]

Energy efficiency service companies missed the memo

By Elisa Wood June 24, 2010 The folks who install insulated windows, efficient factory motors and energy saving lights apparently missed the memo about the economic meltdown. As US gross domestic product slipped to under 1% in 2008, the $4.1 billion energy service industry grew 7%.  Jealous?  Just wait. That was nothing compared to the expansion … [Read more...]

Are we thinking about energy all wrong?

By Elisa Wood April 29, 2010 The energy world operates under the premise that more is better.  If we build more power plants, we’ll have ample supply, and electricity prices will drop. Even better, if those plants are clean and green, we’ll displace older, dirtier plants and reduce emissions. That will help our economy by producing jobs. But is … [Read more...]

EE funding: The cascade begins

By Elisa Wood March 25, 2010 It’s been a heady time for the energy efficiency businesses, with the federal government last year announcing financial support never before seen by the industry. But months after the initial hoopla many of the smaller companies – which make up a large swath of the marketplace – say they still have not seen dollars … [Read more...]

How risky are energy efficiency investments?

By Elisa Wood February 25, 2010 Last week’s announcement of $8.3 billion – and possibly as much as $54.5 billion – in US federal loan guarantees for nuclear power plants sparked debate about risk of default on loans. What are the chances the plants will be built? Critics unearthed a Congressional Budget Office report citing a 50% risk the … [Read more...]

Hot sectors for energy efficiency

By Elisa Wood February 4, 2010 It’s clear that the energy efficiency industry is undergoing an unprecedented boom, spurred by state and federal support and movement toward a smarter grid. But for those in the industry, where exactly can the new business – and the jobs – be found? Two new reports by Colorado-based Pike Research shed some … [Read more...]

Investors and public back energy efficiency

By Elisa Wood January 21, 2010 Energy efficiency finally has transitioned from being a good idea to a good business – to a very good business. Money poured into the industry last year, pumping up total deal values by 664.7% and making 2009 energy efficiency’s break-out year, according to Peachtree Green Advisors. … [Read more...]