Sarah Palin, Tiger Woods, the EPA, and Utility Scale Solar
"I figure lots of predictions is best. People will forget the ones I get wrong and marvel over the rest." That maxim is attributed to Alan Cox, a Welshman of Linux Kernel and wild hair fame.
I know the end of the year is approaching when I see the annual predictions hitting the newsstands. Most of the prediction game is weak sauce - not very insightful with the very good chance of being spectacularly wrong. "DOW 36,000" anyone? So imagine my surprise when asked to blog my utility scale solar predictions for 2010. An already error prone activity is made more difficult when the target of your task is a regulated market driven by (a) the whims of government, (b) the entrenched positions of utilities, and (c) the very deep pockets of Energy. To compensate for that I'll invoke the spirit of Alan Cox, wax about a range of stuff, and hope there's at least one to marvel over.
- Sarah Palin will get credit, regardless of facts, for U.S. House Republican gains in the mid-term elections, but diagramming one of her sentences will continue to prove elusive.
- After finding its voice and the legal authority to regulate CO2 as a dangerous pollutant under its existing legislative mandate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency won't use that power anytime soon and businesses won’t grind to a halt.
- South Africa will emerge as a Top 7 solar market worldwide with new PV installations surpassing Spain.
- The Minnesota Vikings will crush my soul again.
- Solar manufacturing will continue to migrate to China, but a forward thinking state in the U.S. will decide that a fab2farm solar deployment model really can anchor a permanent local ecosystem and will put in steps to capture that opportunity.
- There will be a growing body of key decision makers that understand a important barrier to solar PV adoption in the US is the treatment of Tax Credit Normalization and will act to remove that barrier by aligning tax policy with public policy.
- The price of natural gas will be as volatile and unpredictable as it has over the past 25 years. (I'm really stretching on this one.) Once solar is in the ground, your cost structure is low, predictable, fixed, essentially guaranteed past 2030.
- Tiger Woods will make an Oprah appearance.
There you have it. I'll end with a Bill Vaughan aphorism, "the groundhog is like most other prophets; it delivers its prediction and then disappears." I'm off to holiday vacation and won't be scoring any of my predictions soon.