I am spoke yesterday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC at a forum on green jobs for women. Although policymakers assert that government investments in green initiatives can produce 20% more jobs than traditional economic stimulus measures, women are not finding as much employment in the green sector as men. I wrote about this
Provincial Energy Minister, Brad Duguid, recently toured a hydroelectric project in Kapuskasing, Ontario to promote the province’s push for a greener and more sustainable economy. During his visit, Duguid stated, “I really think the Green Energy Act is good for the North,” referring to the provincial government’s legislation designed to bolster investment in a cleaner,
There has been a ton of money floating out of Washington the past couple of years. Much is going toward propping up state governments with budget shortfalls, helping those who cannot find work by extending unemployment benefits and COBRA health insurance coverage, and a ton of dough is going to the banks.
This leaves a lot of us wondering, where is my stimulus package?
As an avid reader of current events and a novice financial expert, my opinion is perhaps literally worth two cents. As a renewable energy professional who has spent the past two years learning about solar energy and energy efficiency through community college courses and technical schools, I can tell there is a lot of money going to the right places.
In addition to extending unemployment benefits, there is a good deal of money flowing into community colleges and renewable energy. For example, I was able to get reimbursed from my state, New York, for the classes I took on energy efficiency.
The fight for leadership in clean-tech is underway. The next decade will prove pivotal in determining where the Silicon Valley of clean-tech will reside. While the U.S. is now putting considerable resources into clean-tech, the strongest competitor has only just entered the contest.
Announced in July, China’s Golden Sun program will increase installed capacity of solar power by five times its 2008 level in the next 2-3 years. China also initiated a residential program to subsidize solar. The nation has quickly emerged as a major player in one of renewable energy’s key sectors. Furthermore, China earmarked nearly $100 billion of economic stimulus for projects related to climate change. This is not to mention the enormous growth of the wind power industry in China, which required Chinese lawmakers to double their wind power prediction for 2010. The country plans to add wind capacity to match the massive Three Gorges Dam within the next decade. All the while, China has strict protectionist rules limiting the beneficiaries to local companies. The likely best hope for foreign entities is to collaborate with their Chinese counterparts similar to the success of American automakers.
Last week, Mackinnon gave a great overview of the Stimulus incentives for Cleantech. The impact of over $80 billion (yes, BILLION) will be an unprecedently leap in commercialization of clean technologies, putting us well on the way to reduced carbon emissions and energy independence.
However, there are many trade-offs that are inherent to “shovel-ready” economic stimulus that do not make us greener, cleaner or more energy independent. Last week, NPR discussed the Green goals of the stimulus package. In particular, the fact that $29 billion (also, BILLION) will be dedicated to building new highways is polluting in the near-term, but also “means more cars, more development, and more greenhouse gas pollution.”