The success of an industry can sometimes rest
on a few basic elements. I recall a presentation
from an expert with the National Renewable Energy
Lab, where she identified the three critical
legs of the "solar energy stool": resource potential,
technological advancement and investment capital.
Just as important are the government policy
drivers the carpet underneath that stool.
Government can hinder an industry, thus yanking
the carpet out. Government can remain hands-off
(laissez-faire), or they can provide incentives
to encourage an industry's development. The
right policy can be a magic carpet that lifts
and accelerates a desired outcome.
Recently the leaders of the American Wind Energy
Association (www.awea.org) , Solar Energy Industries
Association (www.seia.org) and the Geothermal
Energy Association (www.geo-energy.org) met
in Washington to outline their common recommendations.
groups are seeking to level the energy playing
field, knowing that fossil fuels still get
10 times more tax breaks and incentives. Their
core requests are reasonable:
- long-term extension of the production and
investment tax credits (PTC and ITC)
- a national renewable electricity standard
- a climate bill that recognizes renewable
energy's emission reduction contributions
- incentives to upgrade and expand the transmission
Germany is not a ideal country for solar or
wind development, yet they have become world
leaders in both sectors. Enlightened policy
has helped create 250,000 new high-tech jobs
and a model for all other nations. With
the price of oil at all-time highs, I'll say
it once again what's missing is the
sense of urgency and political will of our leaders
to fully support sustainable clean resources.
It's time for each of us to get involved.
You may recall that GENI's 2004 newsletter focused
on all of the best Renewable Energy Policies
from Around the World. While many nations
are embracing these policies, for other countries
the uptake is way too slow. We elect our representatives
and expect them to make thoughtful, timely decisions.
Do your part and write to your local, state
and national leaders, asking them to embrace
these policies that benefit everyone.