The recession that crippled the economy in 2008 saw a decline in the renewable energy market. A lack of confidence in the financial sector made it excessively difficult for renewable energy projects to secure financing. However, the renewable energy economy is bouncing back, showing a boom in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in 2010.
Renewable energy M&A activity spiked to 530 deals being made in 2010. This marks a dramatic increase over the 319 deals the year prior. Noteworthy deals included nuclear power generator Exelon Corp.
’s $900 million acquisition of John Deere Renewables. Also, French nuclear energy company Areva SA
acquired U.S. solar thermal energy company Ausra for $200 million, marking Areva SA’s first move into the solar power market.
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The recent spike in renewable energy activity is in large part thanks to increased M&A activity in the U.S., which typically lags behind Europe in the renewable energy marketplace. The U.S. comprised 39 percent of renewable energy deals in 2010, in large part thanks to government-driven energy regulations as well as stimulus packages. The U.S. may well take the lead from Europe in renewables if the trend continues.
It’s not all good news, however, for the renewable energy market. 2010’s M&A activity saw a 32 percent decline in overall value of transactions, falling from $48.8 billion to $33.4 billion according to PricewaterhouseCoopers
Nonetheless, some of 2010’s biggest M&A deals involved nuclear companies investing in renewables like solar and wind energy. Now, with the decline in the nuclear market following the earthquake in Japan and subsequent nuclear reactor failures, one could expect even further investment in renewables from the nuclear sector.