Home' Technology Review : September October 2009 Contents BRIEFING: ELECTRICITY
Installed or Owned
Market cap: $122.73 billion
Its energy division has businesses in nuclear reactors, fossil fuels, renewables, fuel cells, energy stor-
age, grid systems, and energy-efficient smart appliances. One of the world s biggest suppliers of wind
turbines, the company plans to spend $1.5 billion a year on clean-energy research by 2010.
Market cap: $8.53 billion
This Minneapolis-based utility supplies power to eight states in the Midwest and Southwest. Most of
the electricity Xcel generates comes from its dozens of coal and natural-gas plants, though customers
can pay a premium for electricity from its wind farms. The company is investing in a city-scale smart-
grid project in Boulder, CO.
Market cap: $33.68 billion
The largest U.S. electric utility, providing 20 percent of America s nuclear power. Has proposed a
10-megawatt solar array on the South Side of Chicago, to be funded by the loan guarantee program
in the federal stimulus package; it would be the nation s largest urban solar plant.
Market cap: $2.02 billion
Claims to make the most efficient flat-panel solar technology commercially available, using cells that
convert 22 percent of sunlight into electricity. Last year it won a contract to provide panels for what
will be the largest photovoltaic installation in the world, a 250-megawatt plant in Northern Califor-
nia that s set to start generating electricity next year. The recent drop in demand for solar panels has
forced the company to scale back its production and delay completion of a new factory in Malaysia.
Market cap: $1.75 billion
Has installed more than 10 percent of the world s geothermal capacity, with plants in the United
States, Central America, Africa, and New Zealand.
Market cap: $2.29 billion
Headquartered in Spain, Abengoa pursues a variety of solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies.
The company has signed an agreement with an Arizona utility to build a 280-megawatt plant near
Phoenix. One version of its solar thermal technology uses mirrors to concentrate the sun s energy
onto a central receiving tower. Abengoa also has over 11 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity in
Market cap: $14.9 billion
The world s largest manufacturer of wind turbines, Vestas currently controls 20 percent of the global
Market cap: $12.39 billion
Recently pushed the manufacturing costs of its cadmium telluride thin-film solar panels below $1 per
watt. Has delivered more than a gigawatt of solar generation capacity to date. Although the vast major-
ity of First Solar s customers are in Europe, last year the company completed a 10-megawatt plant in
Nevada. It s currently the largest thin-film installation in the country, and First Solar recently signed an
agreement to expand it to 58 megawatts if the operating utility can find a buyer for the electricity.
Market cap: $160.91 billion
Has been manufacturing silicon solar cells and panels for longer than three decades. In the face of
the economic downturn and increasing competition from competitors, the company recently closed
down photovoltaic manufacturing facilities in Spain and Australia, and it s phasing out panel assembly
at its plant in Frederick, MD.
Market cap: $18.87 billion
Generates most of its electricity from coal, natural gas, and oil. In 2007, the company received permis-
sion from Indiana regulators to build the world s first large-scale Integrated Gasification Combined
Cycle plant, which converts coal into a cleaner burning gas. Also operates a large fleet of nuclear
reactors in the Carolinas and has submitted an application for a license to build a new two-reactor
facility in South Carolina.
"I don't think there is an understanding of the scale of the task that lies ahead. This will be a long transformation, and it is
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