Clean Energy Learns to Compete

Europe used to be nirvana for companies in the clean-energy business, but in the past couple of years it has become a much tougher place. 

With economies anemic, electricity demand is down; and, not surprisingly, once-generous subsidies that encouraged installing swaths of solar collectors in sun-poor Germany or wind farms in relatively calm areas of France are either being reduced or look as if they could be.

But for some people and companies, the harsher environment is fostering a tough-minded approach that may be healthy for the effort in the years ahead to curb the greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming.

Europe’s struggles, for instance, pushed Enel Green Power, one of the world’s largest electricity generators from renewable sources like wind and solar, to explore markets like Brazil, Chile and Mexico, that may turn out to be a lot more promising than Europe.

The bulk of Enel Green Power’s investments used to be in Europe, especially in Italy, its home, and Portugal and Spain. Now the company is mostly putting its new capital into emerging markets.

Read full text at The New York Times