When I look at the future of energy, whether its wind, solar, fuel-cell, biofuels or anything else you can think of that can generate power, I keep coming back to a central theme I believe is absolutely vital. Namely, without advanced energy storage, the future of energy looks bleak.
Seeing just how scarce power can be, especially post Superstorm Sandy or the wintry blast of Nasty Nemo, there undeniably is a lack of energy storage in this country. In fact, this was also highlighted during the third quarter of the Super Bowl in New Orleans. I’m looking for energy storage to become a much bigger topic this year. Companies know this and many are looking for ways to fast-track new technologies or find a partner that can help them store power. This was recently the case when companies like Panasonic (NYSE: PC) with its lithium-ion batteries/systems and Power-One (NASDAQ: PWER), a company with a strong inverter presence forged a strategic alliance post Sandy to produce and market energy storage systems at a time when backup power supplies are greatly needed in the event of future natural disasters and emergencies (tap here for full release).
There has been talk that Germany, a leader in renewable energy support, will back an initiative to support 30 kilowatt (KW) capacity battery based energy storage systems that work with solar panels. Those systems eligible will receive a low interest state supported loan and rebates that in essence will drop the cost of the system by 30%. Considering the boom in solar power thanks to Germany’s feed in tariffs back in 1991 and the sevenfold rise in the market through 1996, this is news investors in the U.S. shouldn’t ignore. Quite frankly, this is an initiative that the U.S. should be looking to emulate as well. Maybe we will get more clarity tonight during President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight since it is expected he will discuss climate change. The time for change is now Mr. President!