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Advanced energy achieves record revenue and growth in 2015

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The business group Advanced Energy Economy has announced that the total revenue for global advanced energy was a record US$1.4 trillion in 2015, making the industry twice as big as the airline industry, bigger than apparel/fashion, and approaching worldwide spending on media and entertainment. The US advanced energy market hit US$200 billion, nearly double the nation's beer market, larger than pharmaceutical manufacturing, and closing in on wholesale consumer electronics.

In 2015, advanced energy revenue grew 8% worldwide over 2014, more than three times the rate of the global economy overall. US advanced energy revenue grew 1% over 2014.

Growth in the US advanced energy market was impacted by persistent low oil prices in 2015. Ethanol pricing is highly correlated with oil prices. So, while production increased slightly, from 14.3 -14.7 billion gal. as the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was fulfilled, ethanol revenue dropped 33%, from US$40.9 billion to US$27.3 billion. Without counting ethanol, the US advanced energy market grew at a 10% rate in 2015, or four times the growth of US gross domestic product (GDP).

These findings, along with details by market segment, are found in the annual Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report produced by Navigant Research for AEE. The 2016 edition includes global and US revenue for the industry annually from 2011 to 2015, showing powerful growth over the five year period.

"Advanced energy has made stunning progress over the past five years, reaching new heights both globally and in the US," said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE. "This vital industry is making the energy we use more secure, clean, and affordable, while creating economic growth. AEE and its business members are committed to accelerating this progress by working with state and federal policymakers, as well as the customers who are demanding advanced energy options."

The report shows that 2015 global advanced energy revenue was 17% higher than 2011. The US advanced energy market grew 29% since 2011.

Specific US market findings were: 

  • Representing 30% of total US advanced energy revenue in 2015, Building efficiency led all segments for the second year in a row, reaching US$63.6 billion, up nearly 11% over 2014, and 50% over 2011. This industry segment accounts for improved building envelope, appliance and electronics, and lighting as well as managing energy use with demand response and enabling information technologies.
  • Electricity generation was the second largest advanced energy segment, at US$52.3 billion in 2015, and also experienced the second largest year on year growth, at 18%.
  • Solar photovoltaics was up 21%, to US$22.6 billion. Revenue from solar PV nearly tripled since 2011.
  • Wind was up 75%, reaching revenue of US$8.2 billion.
  • Gas turbine revenue was up 14%, to US$10.5 billion, in 2015.
  • Following global trends, US electricity delivery and management experienced the largest year over year growth, 24%, reaching US$18.2 billion in 2015, led by transmission investments.
  • Reductions were seen in fuel delivery (down 31%), Transportation (down 9%), and fuel production, which was down 28%, primarily due to lower prices for ethanol, which track gasoline prices. Sales of hybrid vehicles were also impacted by low gasoline prices, while revenue from plug-in electric vehicles still continued to grow, reaching US$4.9 billion in 2015 – seven times 2011 revenue for PEVs.

"Energy storage installations more than doubled in the US last year and the sector is poised to hit 10 GW by 2020 globally," said Kiran Kumaraswamy, Market Development Director, AES Storage. "We expect that energy storage will grow faster than renewable generation as it can act as an alternative for not only peaking generation but also for traditional transmission and distribution investments."

"The report's findings closely reflect the significant growth opportunities we see in building efficiency, as well as demand response, microgrids and distributed energy storage," said Terrill Laughton, Vice President and General Manager, Integrated Demand Resources, Johnson Controls. "We continue to invest in increased efficiencies and innovation in these areas to create value for our customers, who ultimately benefit from reduced operating and energy costs while contributing to overall grid reliability."

"We are seeing market growth in building energy efficiency, but also the tremendous benefit to millions of customers around the world," said Rick Counihan, Head of Energy Regulatory and Government Affairs, Nest Labs. "To date, nest-equipped homes have saved their residents 4 billion kW-hrs of energy compared to what they would have with thermostats left at a consistent temperature."

"There has never been a better time for cost competitive solar power," said Howard Wenger, President, Business Units, of SunPower. "Strong worldwide demand for distributed generation and large scale solar power is being driven by innovative technologies delivering proven value, and by the global imperative to reverse climate change."

"Our company is experiencing first hand the growth trajectory described in this report, and these results drive home the point that wind and advanced energy are cost effective solutions that make business sense," said Chris Brown, President, Vestas Americas. "We are seeing more markets opening up as wind offers competitive pricing and the opportunity to diversify our energy portfolio."

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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