The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Cliff Keys, Editorial Director & Editor-in-Chief, Power Systems Design



Welcome to PSD where we are carrying a special feature section on Renewable Energy. This area of our business has given birth to a huge wave of innovation. In this business, whether in solar, wind, wave power or indeed, any other method is crying out for our engineers to deliver products and systems to deliver ever higher levels of efficiency. New materials such as Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) are now becoming real products', but it all comes at a cost. Not only this, the level of reliability of these devices and systems must be at the very highest level: Repairing or maintaining a remote solar farm or offshore wind farm is a highly expensive and time-consuming operation. Something the operators want to avoid at (almost!) all cost. This is a huge challenge for our industry and from what I have seen at tradeshows such as APEC, PCIM and Intersolar, one that has been embraced enthusiastically and with much vigour by the power industry. Again, it's engineering to the rescue. In this issue, we have a wealth of feature articles on this intriguing topic, which re-affirms to me, the tremendous amount of work and investment that is going into this exciting sector of our industry. Also, on our website there is a feast of information in the form of product and industry news features as well as the interviews I have done with industry leaders under the department of TechTalks'. Please check it out. The power management semiconductors market in 2011 will grow more slowly than expected, due to a general slowdown in consumer spending and the disruption caused by the March Japanese earthquake, according to an IHS iSuppli Power Management Market Tracker report from the information and analysis provider. Revenue in 2011 from power management semiconductors is expected to reach $33.1 billion, up 6.7% from $31.0 billion in 2010—much slower growth compared to the market's astounding 37.8% rebound last year. The market is predicted to rise a meagre 3.9% next year to a projected $34.4 billion. It looks like a powerful time in the long term for the renewable energy sector, certainly the companies here are very busy, but the consumer market unsurprisingly, given the ugly times we are all experiencing, will slow the growth in the PMIC area. But who knows what the future brings for sure? I hope you enjoy this read and please keep your comments and opinions coming in. All the best Cliff Editorial Director & Editor-in-Chief Cliff.