Energy trading in liquid hydrocarbons will continue to be robust, buoyed by high prices and increased volatility, Energy Insights says. Trading in electricity and natural gas will recover from the post-Enron slump. This market will grow by 30% during 2002-2006, with oil and gas majors and financial service firms dominating the trading markets, but with asset-based traders, particularly in power, reengaging. Further on the horizon, increased participation of financial institutions in energy commodity trading will bring program trading in 2008 to 2010.
According to National Retail Federation and BIGresearch, 66.2% of consumers, or 145.3 mln Americans, believe that fluctuating gas prices have impacted their spending habits, up from 56.8% in 2004. 68.5 mln people (31.2% of consumers) have decreased vacation or travel plans. 25.2% have been dining out less frequently. 23.7% spending less on clothing. 17.3% spending less on groceries. 35.9 mln consumers (16.4%) have delayed purchases of cars and furniture as a result of higher gas prices. But only 5.7% of consumers increased carpooling. 35.1% of consumers polled said that gas prices would affect their Memorial Day spending. 69.9% of consumers with household incomes under $50,000 say they have felt an impact from rising gas prices. 58.2% with household incomes over $50,000 have also been affected.
At least 5 mln electricity meters will be connected to GPRS networks in the Nordic region by 2010, according to Berg Insight. Regulatory requirements and increasing competition in the energy industry is creating a mass market for automated meter reading solutions in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, worth several bln euros. Leading energy companies in the region are teaming up with IT and telecom companies to ensure that electricity customers get accurate energy bills based on actual power consumption. The number of remotely read electricity meters in the Nordic region will grow from less than 1 mln in 2005 to over 8 mln in 2010. The current forecasts indicate a market share of 60% for GPRS in the Nordic market in the coming years. Power line communication and unlicensed radio frequencies are the main competing technologies.
Only 10% of the 130 mln electric meters in North America are digital. Over the next 15 years, industry experts expect utilities to migrate nearly all of their meters to digital formats, according to Investor’s Business Daily. In 2004 4.5 mln of the 7.1 mln electric meters sold in North America were digital. In 2003 only 2.5 mln were digital. GE and Elster each have 30% to 40% market share in meters in North America, Itron has about a 30% share. In digital meters, Itron holds 95% of that market.
University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute estimates Toyota, Honda, and others will sell at least 1.2 mln hybrid vehicles by 2010 – about 7% of the US automarket. Currently there are roughly 235 mln cars and light trucks on the road in the US today. Less than 0.1% of those (some 200,000) are hybrids. Insurance companies have accommodated the trend, many offering discount auto insurance designed specifically for hybrid drivers.
Clean Edge stated that the renewable energy markets are poised to grow to more than $100 bln by 2014 from $16 bln in global revenues in 2004. Venture capital investments in US-based energy-tech companies increased to $520 mln in 2004 from $509 mln in 2003, representing nearly 3% of total VC investments in the United States in 2004.
The embryonic automotive fuel cell industry (whether or not aided by governments) must invest some $2 billion in creating a hydrogen fuelling station infrastructure by 2012 if market expectations are to be met, according to ABI Research.
IT spending by US energy companies and utilities will exceed $22 billion in 2005, according to Energy Insights.
Seven gas-electric vehicles accounted for 85,699 sales in 2004, up 97.3% from the 43,435 sold in 2003. The numbers were reported by automakers. Most of the growth, and most of the sales of high-mileage hybrids, came from Toyota’s Prius sedan. At 53,991 units, it accounted for 63% of the hybrid market.
Some 66% of the experts responding to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University agreed with the following prediction: At least one devastating attack will occur in the next 10 years on the networked information infrastructure or the country?s power grid.
59% of these experts agreed with a prediction that more government and business surveillance will occur as computing devices proliferate and become embedded in appliances, cars, phones, and even clothes. 57% of them agreed that virtual classes will become more widespread in formal education and that students might at least occasionally be grouped with others who share their interests and skills, rather than by age.
56% of them agreed that as telecommuting and home-schooling expand, the boundary between work and leisure will diminish and family dynamics will change because of that. 50% of them believe that anonymous, free, music file-sharing on peer-to-peer networks will still be easy to perform a decade from now.
Just 32% of these experts agreed that people would use the internet to support their political biases and filter out information that disagrees with their views. Half the respondents disagreed with or disputed that prediction. Only 32% agreed with a prediction that online voting would be secure and widespread by 2014. Half of the respondents disagreed or disputed that idea.