Originally published on Sustainnovate.
I was lucky to spend a lot of time with Clint Wilder, senior editor at CleanEdge, while in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit, Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony, and other Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week events. One morning, Clint set aside approximately 45 minutes of his time to respond to a barrage of questions from me… on camera. What a kind fellow.
In all seriousness, it was a really interesting chat and went much, much longer than I initially anticipated. We discussed cleantech terminology, a basic history of modern cleantech investing, and much more. I was happy to see him highlight the near disappearance of the term “alternative energy,” since that is a good sign that clean energy has actually become mainstream (not some fringe alternative).
I was especially interested to hear Clint’s thoughts on clean energy trends at the beginning of 2016, and expectations for the coming year. In response, he discussed the importance of the COP21 outcome, record-low solar and wind power prices, and the lack of effect (or greatly limited effect) low oil prices have had on clean energy installation growth.
We also discussed the huge solar power ITC and wind power PTC extensions, pessimism across the industry leading up to that, Sunrun cofounder and CEO Lynn Jurich’s strong words against fatalism beforehand, and the energy tradeoff for those extensions.
We then dove into a discussion of the absurd net metering news out of Nevada (which included retroactive cutting of net metering, but now seems like it will grandfather in existing rooftop solar owners). And we touched on carbon pricing, renewable energy standards, and utility-scale vs decentralized renewable energy.
Clint also touched on CleanEdge’s new grid modernization report and he gave his perspective on the stage of development in this side of the industry (which includes demand-response systems, time-of-use pricing, better transmission lines, and more). Clint provided his 2 cents on why this aspect of the electricity industry is moving along quite slowly, while also highlighting some leaders in the space.
Perhaps the most interesting segment of the interview for me was when Clint and I discussed public utility commissions (PUCs) and their role in supporting (or fighting) solar and wind power growth across the US. PUCs are a big key to a clean and stable future.
Clint also highlighted regional solar and wind markets he finds particularly interesting (aka, hot).
Hopefully that long summary has inspired you to hit play on the video above.