All of us have seen a sports event where we didn't understand what was happening on the playing field. Everyone may be cheering or groaning, but you are clueless. Why? . . . because you don't understand the rules of the game. Without rules, there would be chaos on the field, and not understanding the rules means you can't enjoy or participate in the action.
The Rules of the Game between government and business are the policies created by legislators to raise revenue and encourage or discourage certain kinds of business behaviors. The rules for energy have been developed over the last century with the focus on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. In fact, these industries still receive $250 billion in annual subsidies – compared to just $10 billion for the renewable energy sector. You get what you pay for. We live in a world of fossil fuel addiction, prosperity for the wealthy nations and geopolitical tensions over these same natural resources. As a result, we collectively suffer the direct pollution and long term consequences of our choices.
President Gorbachev has stayed active through Green Cross International, which issues a report card on countries' environmental commitments. The Solar Report Card rates a nation's policy support for the industry and the scores are revealing: Germany A-, United States C+, Japan C, the UK and China D-, and Russia F. With good policies in place, an industry can gain a foothold and grow. With inadequate or no policy, an industry is strangled.
The four leading US renewable organizations, AWEA (American Wind Energy Assn), SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Assn), GEA (Geothermal Energy Assn) and NHA (National Hydropower Assn) have concurred on a set of policy mechanisms that encourage job development, investment and procurement of these clean resources and technologies. They also call for a national transmission backbone to link abundant renewable energy generation to our cities. Without this grid, renewables in remote locations remain an untapped asset. This is true in all nations – and is why these grids and policies need to span national boundaries and be enacted in all capitals. If you want the rules to change, contact your President, Congressmen and Governor and ask them to support these recommended policies.
In partnership for the planet,