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Houston Chronicle: With Oil Reeling Under Pandemic, Clean Energy Looks to Capitalize

Posted by James Osborne on Apr 30, 2020

Houston Chronicle covered the decline of the oil market along with challenges, opportunities for renewable energy companies during and after the COVID-19 crisis, quoting AEE's Nat Kreamer. Read excerpts below and the entire Houston Chronicle piece here (sub. req.)

As a sudden drop in demand decimates the oil industry, international efforts are underway to ride the lull in fossil fuel consumption to expedite the clean up of the world’s energy sector. Even as the coronavirus pandemic keeps countries under lock down, world leaders view the sudden shock to the global economy as an opportunity to reduce reliance on the crude flowing from Texas and other regions and combat climate change.

At a meeting organized by the International Energy Agency last week, energy ministers from 13 nations including Canada, the United Kingdom, India and Italy discussed how to go about directing the trillions of dollars central banks and governments are spending in fiscal stimulus toward clean energy technologies such as electric cars, solar panels and advanced batteries...

Clean energy companies, however, aren’t escaping the dramatic fall off in energy demand either. Plans for wind farms and rooftop solar systems are being put on hold, as social distancing measures make new sales difficult and financing becomes increasingly difficult to obtain amid fears of a prolonged global recession, said Nat Kreamer, CEO of the clean energy group Advanced Energy Economy.

With a massive infrastructure bill under discussion in Congress, clean energy companies are making their pitch for upgrades to the U.S. power grid to advantage clean energy, including grid-scale batteries that store wind power generated at night and electric vehicle charging stations along highways. “Any time you have a crisis or a disaster you shouldn’t waste the opportunity to do things better the next time,” Kreamer said. “We’re not going backwards when this is all over.”

The inspiration is the stimulus packages passed by countries around the globe following the financial crisis of 2008, which purposely focused on expanding the manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbines. And while emissions did initially dip - the consequence of decreased economic activity - they later rose as business returned to normal...

Read the entire Houston Chronicle piece here (sub. req.)

Topics: AEE In The News