Utilities and Defense Interested in Energy Storage and Solar
A new study from research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows utility companies in North America zeroed in on two sectors last year—advanced energy storage and solar.
Analysts at BNEF tracked 52 clean energy request for proposals (RFPs) in 2014, and found that solar dominated the field with more than 27 RFPs, and that Western states sought the most capacity.
The white paper draws on analysis from BNEF’s database of North American clean energy RFPs. The most interesting trends include that solar dominated the market, both in capacity (1.8 gigawatts [GW]) and quantity (27 RFPs). There was also a significant amount of interest (at least 12 RFPs) in energy smart technologies, particularly energy storage.
In addition, Western states represented the biggest region for RFPs, with 1 GW requested. The Southeast was the second-largest region in terms of capacity requested, almost all of it solar. Collectively, the U.S. armed forces issued seven RFPs.
RFPs are a leading indicator for trends in the utility industry because they are solicitations issued by companies to potential vendors. The issuers of RFPs specify the products or services they are seeking. In response, bidders submit proposals, competing against each other on the basis of pricing, capabilities, and other factors. In the world of clean energy, RFPs could involve procurement for renewable electricity-generating capacity or for technologies to make the grid more flexible or resilient.