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...]

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...]

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...]

Time to come clean on energy subsidies?

By Elisa Wood What you don’t know will hurt you. That’s the message in Michael Lewis’ new book, “The Big Short,” which traces today’s worldwide economic downturn to a single problem: the secretive nature of prices in the subprime mortgage bond markets. What’s this got to do with energy? Our industry has its own opaque corners that can cause … [Read more...]

Will public support for efficiency continue?

By Elisa Wood March 4, 2010 What’s the shelf life of today’s support for energy efficiency technologies? The industry has seen an unprecedented boom over the last several years. But all booms eventually bust. A recent souring of public opinion about global warming science has some industry insiders bracing for impact. Will American enthusiasm … [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...]

Reasons for efficiency: Plain as the smudge on your face

By Elisa Wood February 11, 2010 Remember soot? A long time ago, before global warming, getting rid of soot was considered a good reason to make our energy supply cleaner and more efficient. These small dirty particles, created from auto and power plant combustion, discolor walls and do worse to our lungs. Their harm is immediate, yet we seem to … [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...]

How many negawatts do I need before I retire?

By Elisa Wood December 3, 2009 A candy shop owner on Cape Cod offers a new approach to build a retirement portfolio: put solar panels on your roof. “We looked at the stock market last year and it didn’t look too good so we decided to invest in electricity,” said Ray Hebert, owner of Stage Stop Candy in Dennisport, in an article on … [Read more...]

Efficiency: Highest priority for no one

By Elisa Wood July 30, 2009 If there was still any question about the economic value of energy efficiency, it was put to rest this week by a McKinsey & Company report. The United States could save $1.2 trillion and generate 900,000 new jobs through better energy management, according to “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the US Economy.” Sounds … [Read more...]