Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RETech 2010 + Snowmageddon

From February 3-5 the Renewable Energy Technology Conference and Exhibition took place at the Convention Center of Washington, DC. During this event, specialists gathered for speeches, workshops, exhibitions and discussions about the latest developments and initiatives in Renewable Energy Technologies. Of course, Taylor-DeJongh was there to promote their investment banking services, backed up by years of experience in the power and energy sector. In the few hours that I helped manage the booth on Friday, numerous people stopped by to pick our brains on financing opportunities for renewable energy projects, ranging from solar plants and new wind-turbine technology to energy efficient buildings and biofuels.
One of the other exhibitors at RETech 2010 was Concord Blue Energy, a US license holder of a German technology that allows power-generation from waste through pyrolytical gasification, resulting in high energy efficiency and very low CO2 emissions. Solar Millenium also had a booth on the exhibit floor. This German Concentrated Solar Power manufacturer was one of the first companies to build large-scale parabolic trough plants in Europe with the Andasol projects in Spain. It's subsidiary, Solar Trust of America, is planning to do the same thing in California, Nevada and Arizona. Covanta, one of the leading waste-to-energy companies in the US, was also there to promote its products. Even though no waste-to-energy plants has been built in the US over the past 20 years, this will hopefully change now that dumping trash into a landfill is becoming more and more expensive. Another interesting company was Suzlon, the Indian wind-turbine manufacturer that has a large market share in the US market through its subsidiary REPower.
Apart from companies, states and countries also promoted their RE capabilities, mainly to attract investments in projects and start-ups or trade. Among them were Nevada, Ontario, Italy, Denmark, Japan etc. And of course many government agencies and industry associations offered their services during the trade fair.
It was great to see so many people who were actively promoting renewable energy solutions, but it is unfortunate that so many governments still drag their feet to provide the right incentives to make this market really take off. Especially given the current economic climate, many investors and lenders are wary to take any risk at all, making it very hard for new technologies to raise sufficient funds for commercial scale development.

During a breakfast-event at the law-firm K&L Gates, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, one of the sponsors of a climate bill that was introduced in the Senate, emphasized how the US will end up lagging behind while countries like China, Japan and Germany develop state-of-the-art RE manufacturing and development capabilities. So there are certainly members of Congress who would like to see a climate bill move forward, but given the time it takes to adopt a much-needed health-care bill, I don't have much confidence in any climate-legislation being implemented in the US this year.

While RETech 2010 was supposed to last until Friday-evening, the snowstorm that was coming to DC made the organization decide to close up early, and by 1:30pm most exhibitors had left the floor. While it was still relatively easy to move around last Friday, the snow really came down on Saturday and made it virtually impossible for cars to even leave their parking spot. Many people participated in huge snowball-fights that occured throughout the city (including yours sincerely), while others recorded the transformation of DC into a ski-resort. Metros were only running on the tracks underground, and on Monday the federal government was closed. Yesterday things became a bit better, but last night it has been snowing again so all streets and cars are once more covered under a thick layer of water crystals.

Our street

At the intersection of 16th St and Columbia Road


At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice photos Bram! And, thank you for the nice entry about RETECH. Stay warm in Snowmageddon part deux. - Jennifer

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