Weekly Review November 17-23: Alternative Energy Innovation

Since we are always on the lookout for our next investment for the BSP Fund, we stay up-to-date on innovations, regulations, and investment (both public and private) in the alternative energy sector. Here’s what piqued our interest this week in alternative energy.

The next generation of air energy storage players” by Katie Fehrenbacher on GigaOM
Given how important energy storage is in both developed and developing markets, we’re always interested in new storage innovations. Several well-funded companies are taking on the challenge of air energy storage. If the technology comes down enough in price, this type of energy storage would make wind farms and solar projects much more efficient, affordable, and economical. In the near future, we hope to see innovators tackling this challenge with emerging markets in mind.

India faces growing pains for its solar market” by Ucilia Wang on GigaOM
Despite big plans for solar in India, growth is off to an unsteady start. There are plenty of incentives, both financial and social, as well as a burgeoning demand for increased power supply. The problems include regulatory uncertainty, heavy dust storms, and component shortages that are deterring the multi-megawatt utility-scale projects. We hope these projects are ultimately successful, but it’s clear that decentralized solutions (including those powered by solar) will play a key role in closing the energy access gap for the 300 million Indians without electricity.

Renewable energy the cheapest option for off-grid power” by Max Hall on PV Magazine
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is advocating for renewable energy to become “the default option for providing electricity to the millions of people in the world without grid access.” In particular areas with abundant natural resources, including high winds and solar irradiation, renewables are in fact the most cost effective option for extending the grid. In the report “Renewable Power Generation Costs,” IRENA provides a thorough analysis of the costs of renewable sources to support this claim.

Tech Museum Awards celebrates innovators for the poor
A big congratulations goes to Simpa Networks, which was recognized for its innovative technology that benefits humanity at The Tech Awards. Co-founder Michael MacHarg accepted the Accenture Sustainable Energy Award in Silicon Valley last Friday for the company. Simpa is recognized as a Global Laureate, and received a cash award of $75,000.

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers!

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