Having worked in the
renewable energy field for 25 years, it’s exciting to see the growth of solar
and wind projects around the world. These energy sectors have seen 30%-50%
increases each year – which means a doubling every 2 years of installed
capacity. But it’s important to remember the competition if renewables are
going to capture market share beyond 12% of the total electricity production in
the world today.
First, the playing field is not level. During our event last year on “Energy and Water Sustainability
in Southern California” Craig Lewis of the www.Clean-Coalition.org presented a compelling case for Feed-in-Tariffs to
accelerate the uptake of clean technologies. He shared the graph of U.S.
Federal subsidies in the energy sector from 2002 – 2008. The sobering reality
is that coal, oil, and gas received 250% more support than for renewables.
Since fossil fuels provide
for most of today’s energy needs, their advocates argue this is fair. Yet
subsidies and tax breaks usually are created to enable new industries to get established
and then sunset over time. The fossil fuel industry is a century old and now
makes record profits.
Second, in a condition of
record budget deficits, can we afford this financial support to fossil fuels? These continuing
subsidies are upside-down in a world that’s working to reduce carbon
emissions and increase clean energy production.
International Energy Agency broadens the argument to all nations, saying that
business-as-usual will drive these subsidies to $600 billion a year in 2020.
This must change – or we’ll end up where we are headed (old Chinese proverb).
All nations are culpable -- and all must become part of the solution. We need
your help. Share these graphs with your media; send them to your leaders. Tell
them that energy funding is up-side down. Take a stand for your country, for
common sense -- for our common future.
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