I called my friend, clean energy finance expert Bill Paul for some advice the other day. “I have a client with a breakthrough in battery chemistry, and I’m trying to find them a manufacturing partner in the electric vehicles space. Where do you think I should look?” I asked.
By the word “where,” what I meant was “At what companies?” But what I got from Bill was this: “My first suggestion is that you forget everyone and everything in the United States.” He went on, “There’s no money here. More correctly, there’s plenty of money, but it’s not moving. It’s sitting on the sidelines — two trillion dollars of it. Check out Europe. They have their own issues, of course, but at least they’re making investments, and not just sitting around watching the rest of the world fly past them.”
That’s sobering, isn’t it? What are we doing here that’s so dramatically wrong?
My answer, simplistic as it may be, is that our leaders in government have investors terrified. I am completely sympathetic to someone with money, who looks at the political scene and says to himself, “Next year, the U.S. could elect a president whose mission will be to roll back decades of progress the country has made in protecting its environment. His campaign platform calls for a near-total dismantling of the EPA, and, if elected, he’ll spend four years doing his damnedest to remove the last vestiges of regulation, enabling private enterprise to do whatever it wants regardless of the ecological consequences. Let’s see here…. how much money would I be smart to have invested in clean energy when the national interest in this subject goes from “tentative’ to ‘zero?’”
I’d be interested in your viewpoints.