In Renewable Energy, Things May Not Be What They Seem

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I subscribe to a great number of free online newsletters that cover cleantech at a fairly broad level, and though I certainly don’t read every word, I do glance through them. If you have a spare minute, I would ask you to check out this article from SmartGridNews, and tell me what you think.

What it showed me is that the world, even here in the U.S., is quietly making significant progress towards a new, clean electrical grid. Each day, a large collection of different types of companies are making terrific headway in this space. One could break this out as follows:

• Industrial giants like GE, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Johnson Controls, Itron, and Honeywell

• IT titans like Google, Microsoft and Cisco

• Smaller enterprises working in specific disciplines within smart grid, batteries, EV charging, solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal, energy efficiency, biofuels, etc.

• The fossil fuel energy industry, many of which see the proverbial handwriting on the wall.

Politicians may be noisily snubbing clean energy, but, fortunately for us all, the reality behind the scenes is going in a different direction.

But while we’re on the subject of politics, how can the world of Washington and business be so far apart? The answer that I accept came from a keynote address at one of last year’s Renewable Energy Finance Forums, by Pennsylvania’s ex-governor Ed Rendell, who pointed out:

There are too many special interests arrayed against renewables. Over 90% of Democrat voters are in favor of Congress passing legislation that prioritizes clean energy. In fact, over 75% of Republican voters are in favor of the exact same thing. Clearly, the will of the American people is being frustrated by special interests.

Together, we can do this, but we can’t do it inside the Beltway. The lobbyists are raising campaign money for our senators and representatives in Washington seven days a week. It never stops. It never stops. There are fund-raisers happening literally every night. If change is going to happen, it needs to take place in hometown America.

As sickening as that is, it’s heartening that the business world is heading in the right direction, regardless of the misdirection it may be receiving from government.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

  • http://Bisonfinancial.com David Repka

    The greatest point of frustration is the lack of certainty and clear, co-ordinated, cohesive, long-term direction in every step in the process: permitting, interconnections, planning, zoning, regulatory, environmental, taxation, etc. Every state having their own RPS and tax code of incentives is maddening. There needs to be a cohesive, national energy policy with a FIT.

  • Jessee McBroom

    These major corporations listed in the article are looking forward to making some significant earnings via their contracting in the field of Smart Grid Technologies. Most Power Producers are aware of the writing on the wall. The intelligent ones will diversify their energy production portfolio if they can. All in all; a LOT of MONEY is being invested to keep the grid system in place as opposed to a distributed electric system that is micro grid or gridless in nature. The upgrade of the grid system to a Smart Grid System is a price the electrical providers will gladly pay to stay in the game of billing for transportation of electricity. This transport chatge constitutes the largest portion on any electric bill.