Green energy market growth pulled down by low ethanol prices

The market for green and efficient energy grew slightly in the U.S. last year, according to a survey released Thursday.

The market for green energy — including efficient building materials, electricity generation, fuels, infrastructure and related industries — grew 1 percent last year, according to research by industry group Advanced Energy Economy.

The report authors noted the U.S. results were pulled down by a collapse in ethanol prices. Discounting ethanol, the market grew at roughly 10 percent.

Advanced Energy Economy CEO Graham Richard said the industry has seen huge progress and is “making the energy we use more secure, clean and affordable.”

The report highlighted a few fast-growing sectors:

  • Energy storage saw the greatest year-to-year gain, growing 12-times its size to $743 million;
  • Wind grew 75 percent, up to $14.4 billion;
  • Utility and rooftop solar also saw large gains, jumping 21 percent, to $22.6 billion.

How does the $200 billion industry compare to others? It’s twice the size of the beer business and just ahead of pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Worldwide growth was more robust, the report authors say. Spending on advanced energy rose 8 percent to a record $1.4 trillion.

On Monday, the American Wind Energy Association reported that the U.S produced a world-leading 190 megawatt hours of energy from wind turbines. California generated roughly 6 percent of the state’s total, according to survey. Iowa was the top U.S. producer, drawing nearly one-third of its electricity from wind last year.


Photo: Bay Area News Group archives


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  • Joseph Turquie

    Wow wind grew 75%! That is fantastic!