Cheap natgas in US provides challenge for renewable energy

07 March 2013 21:44  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The abundance of shale resources and cheap natural gas in the US are challenges for the renewable energy industry, the CEO of US solar project developer Recurrent Energy said on Thursday.

“The fact is, we have a country that still has not figured out the value of [the renewable energy] market... and that’s something we have to [resolve],” Arno Harris said at IHS CERAWeek.

While the price spread between natural gas and renewable energy remains wide, solar in the past few years have accomplished some “amazing feats”, he said, particularly from being the most expensive form of power to now costing about a third.

“It’s been an interesting revolution to see how [natural gas] has affected the energy outlook and regulation,” Harris said.

He explained that a few years ago, there was a concern that the industry and regulators were going to pursue the low-price route and push for all natural gas as a resource for power.

“There’s been a pretty strong push back from utilities that they don’t want to see a single fuel, just because of the risk of volatility,” he said.

With the technology currently available, all of the resources are at historically low prices, Harris said.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for intermediate resources like solar and massive resources like gas,” he said.

Still, the renewable energy industry has not reached its full potential, Harris said.

“The numbers are big, but they have yet to go,” he added.

CERAWeek is an energy conference that runs through Friday.

By: Tracy Dang
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