Emerging Markets for Clean Energy
Today, I attended a House Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee hearing, titled “The Global Clean Energy Race”. The focus of the session was on the form, scale, and future of investments in clean energy, both in the US and internationally. The panel consisted of two venture capitalists, the CEO of a start-up wind turbine company (Nordic Wind Power), and a investment research analyst from Deutsche Bank.
Clearly all these panelists would certainly benefit financially from a clean energy revolution, but the bigger message that came across was that if the US does not take swift and urgent action on climate/renewable legislation this country will be left outside the circle of emerging markets for renewable energy. Data shows that renewable sources of energy will become cheaper than fossil fuels in the not so distant future, creating demand that could spur immense job growth domestically and abroad.
What all the panelists talked about was the idea that the clean energy revolution is at a tipping point. The innovation of new technologies (mainly done at US universities) is at a point where it is ready for use on a large scale, but the next phase is primarily production and implementation of those innovations. Without decisive climate legislation the US will not be able to match the speed, scale, and amounts of capital that many other countries around the globe are pouring into low carbon energy. This production phase brings the possibility of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, and legislation can be enacted that does not directly effect the budget, which is a worry of so many. By not acting through climate legislation the US is sending signals that are deterring investors and start up companies alike. This seems to be just another reason why the US must enact climate legislation that will move us towards a carbon free economy.
Graph: Shows the decline of price in Solar