ORENCO Hydropower Vice Chairman Mark Matousek Compares Renewable Energy Investment Opportunities at Clean & Green Investment Forum in San Francisco

Share Article

ORENCO Hydropower Vice Chairman Mark Matousek, a featured panelist at the recent Clean & Green Investment Forum in San Francisco, reviewed recent studies comparing the levelized cost of energy for renewable energy, fossil generation and nuclear generation options. His discussion included the advantages of incremental hydropower (adding power to existing dams and waterways). Highlights included reasons why recent development of small hydro, the lowest-cost renewable energy option, has been dwarfed by wind and solar; and how ORENCO Hydropower is addressing these key issues.

ORENCO Hydropower Vice Chairman Mark Matousek, a featured panelist at the recent Clean & Green Investment Forum in San Francisco, reviewed recent studies comparing the levelized cost of energy for renewable energy, fossil generation and nuclear generation options. His discussion included the advantages of incremental hydropower (adding power to existing dams and waterways). Highlights included reasons why recent development of small hydro, the lowest-cost renewable energy option, has been dwarfed by wind and solar; and how ORENCO Hydropower is addressing these key issues.

The comparison of the levelized cost of energy for renewable energy, fossil generation and nuclear generation options was one of the key items addressed by Mark Matousek, Vice Chairman of ORENCO Hydropower, as a featured panelist at the recent Clean & Green Investment Forum in San Francisco.

The panel's focus was "Comparing and Contrasting the Different Types of Renewable Energy: Wind, Solar, Water and Nuclear – Which Renewable Energy Fits Your Investment Profile?" Featuring four speakers and a moderator, the panel examined how these renewable energy options compare today and in the future – both to each other and to other generation options such as natural gas, coal and nuclear.

Mr. Matousek’s presentation – “Renewable Energy: Finding Value and Managing Risk – The Opportunities in Incremental Hydro” – compared the cost of energy from wind, solar, incremental hydro, geothermal and biomass to gas, coal and nuclear options. All were reviewed on a levelized basis, taking into account capital costs, fuel costs, O&M costs, financing costs and the range of subsidies. The comparison also considered the impact if current subsidies to each sector were eliminated.

"It is important to note that, on average, only incremental hydropower and biomass are currently competitive with new gas combined cycle plants,” said Mr. Matousek. “Moreover, these cost advantages versus other energy types increase dramatically if the current subsidies for other generation options, like solar and wind, are removed."

Based on recent studies by Strategic Decisions Group and the Department of Energy, the presentation also illustrated several other key points:

Among all of today’s energy options:

  •         Incremental hydropower (that is, power added at existing dams and waterways) has the lowest levelized cost of energy among today’s generation options.

Among renewable energy options:

  •      In North America over the last decade, development of small hydro (at just 1 GW) has been dwarfed by wind (113 GW) and solar (21 GW).

  •      Both wind and solar have received high levels of government subsidies and incentives. As a result, today’s costs of power from wind and solar are artificially low.

  •      In light of the U.S. government’s focus to reduce debt and spending, both wind and solar are at risk of significantly higher costs if and when the current subsidies and incentives are removed.

  •      Conversely, incremental hydropower, with less systematic risk, remains the low-cost option among renewable energy choices, followed closely by geothermal.

In terms of potential market size, the size of the U.S. incremental hydro market is about 13 – 18 GW ($35 – 50 billion). Despite these opportunities, Mr. Matousek noted that investment in small hydro has been dwarfed by wind and solar for three key reasons: individual projects are very difficult to finance, the industry is fragmented, and the awareness of hydro benefits and influence among legislators and regulators have been limited.

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Matousek discussed how ORENCO Hydropower is addressing these three major limitations – by: 1) developing a diversified portfolio of 20-30 small projects, which improves the risk profile to investors; 2) working with proven Chinese suppliers, with vast experience and proven results, to provide equipment and engineering at 30-40% lower cost; and 3) focusing on the 2 GW of hydro projects that are FERC exempt and investing in them heavily, while working to increase awareness among FERC and Congress of hydropower’s fundamental attractiveness as a renewable resource.

Held in San Francisco, the Clean & Green Investment Forum was hosted on June 6-7, 2011, by Opal Financial Group. The event was attended by representatives of trusts, pension funds and endowments, as well as energy developers, utility companies, federal and state government agencies and energy-equipment companies.

For a complimentary copy of the ORENCO Hydropower presentation, please contact Mark Matousek at mmatousek(at)orencohydro.com or 650-714-3043.

ABOUT ORENCO HYDROPOWER

ORENCO Hydropower, Inc. develops small hydropower generation assets at existing dams and waterways that are low-cost and low-impact. The company assembles and manages a portfolio of hydro projects; and provides engineering, equipment procurement and financing for ongoing projects. Products and services include end-to end development of 1 MW to 50 MW hydropower projects; resale and integration of reliable Chinese turbines and generators to other hydro developers – at significant cost advantages; and partnering with small hydro developers to provide project financing and support.

Founded in 2010, ORENCO Hydropower brings together experts in hydro asset design and development, power markets, licensing and business strategy. In addition, key venture partners provide project financing. Based in Palo Alto, California, ORENCO Hydropower builds upon the expertise, experience and international business relationships of ORENCO, Inc., begun in 1979.

For more information, please contact ORENCO Hydropower by telephone at 650-475-4467, by email at info@orencohydro.com or online at http://www.orencohydro.com

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jill Turner
Rodin & Shelley Associates
(415) 346-7300
Email >
Visit website