Key questions to ask, resources to review on renewal energy & mfg?
October 3, 2017 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm doing research in the renewal energy and manufacturing. I want to get to know the industry quickly, and will be doing phone interviews with business owners to discover their key pain points in their business (centered around their marketing). These are not sales calls, just informational interviews. Snowflake details inside.

Two questions:
* What are five questions I should be asking to learn their unique challenges? I have some standard ones, but are some specific to the industry I should ask?
* What are the best resources (websites, books, industry associations, etc.) to get me up to speed on the industry?

My knowledge of the industry comes mainly from general interest reading (Fortune, Vox, New Yorker, NY Times) and the book "Reinventing Fire".
posted by falcon42 to Technology (4 answers total)
To start with, I think you mean renewable energy.
posted by theora55 at 2:20 PM on October 3

Wikipedia is a good place to start, Renewable Energy. See section 4 on the industry.
posted by at at 2:42 PM on October 3

Yep - my typo. I asked MeFi admin to fix it.
posted by falcon42 at 1:03 PM on October 5

I work in RE policy. I am thus perhaps somewhat biased but I talk to a lot of industry people and have taught a few hundred engineers who mostly go into the sector. Policy and regulation is a key issue for businesses. It has a major impact on their sources of finance, on their income and on their tax burden. For RE tech still in the earlier stages of development (eg wave, tidal stream) this will include things like R&D grants and other opportunities to develop and test the tech. For more developed RE tech (wind, PV) it will mean issues relating to planning, subsidy mechanisms, likely changes to either of these, network access & cost process delays, licensing as a generator & market access, changes to any of the above and the impact this might have. Risks relating to these need to be managed and what risk each tech is vulnerable to can vary strongly depending on which policies are in place, so strategies for risk mitigation also have to vary in response. Variations in how policy/regulation applies or might change at the international, national, regional and local level all need to be accounted for.

The specific challenges vary by technology in terms of intermittency/predictability (and whether this might be costly in terms of network balancing), ability to operate in specific environments, high capital cost and mitigation and in other areas. Challenges also vary by country, since some countries favour different approaches depending on whether they are more or less committed to markets and also because different national regulatory frameworks for energy sectors start from very different places. In the US, policy also varies widely by state.
posted by biffa at 10:24 AM on November 14

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