Clean tech in the United States has been on the rise in recent years— even through the recession and other challenges. Increasing wind power, falling solar costs, expanding electric vehicle markets, government stimulus and other investments have built a global clean tech sector that topped $263 billion last year.
In the first quarter of 2012, however, global clean energy investment dropped to its lowest level since 2008. Good news stories are being replaced with headlines about closing factories, bankruptcies, and cancelled projects. Clean tech appears to be at a crucial inflection point.
This piece was written with Graham Provost, intern at the World Resources Institute.
The agenda at this week’s Pacific Energy Summit, hosted by the National Bureau of Asian Research, in Hanoi, Vietnam, includes increasing energy security, expanding access to energy, and decarbonizing the power sector. Given these goals, plus the staggering growth in energy demand in Asia, as well as increasingly volatile fossil fuel prices and rapidly falling renewable energy costs, there are many opportunities to scale up renewable energy throughout the region. (For more on renewable energy’s rapid growth see here and here.) In order to take advantage of this fast-moving sector and develop internationally competitive domestic industries, countries need to have a strong capacity for innovation.
A new conference paper, "Taking Renewable Energy to Scale in Asia," explores these opportunities and challenges for the Summit Participants.
This summary provides an overview of S. 2146, the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (CESA), introduced by Senator Bingaman and 8 cosponsors on March 1, 2012.
For too long, the United States has lacked a clear, national energy policy. Today, Senator Bingaman took a step in that direction by introducing the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (CESA), which would create certainty for clean energy investments, diversify the U.S. power mix, and yield meaningful carbon emissions reductions.
This post originally appeared in the National Journal Energy & Environment Expert Blog. The question was, “Where Can Government Energy R&D Have Most Impact?”
Innovation in breakthrough energy technologies is notoriously challenging, despite having potentially large rewards. Individual innovations are embedded in larger systems where change is very hard. These innovations often carry significant capital costs to demonstrate, commercialize, or reach economies of scale. Unlike the latest cell phone, consumers are often unwilling to pay more for a new energy innovation, especially when the rewards are in the future.
This piece originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
In his annual State of the Union address, President Obama declared: “I will not walk away from clean energy.”
His words were a sharp rebuttal to critics harping on the Solyndra bankruptcy and others making dire predictions about the downfall of the renewable energy industry.
So, who is right? Will 2012 be a breakthrough year for renewable, or will it collapse?
This post originally appeared in the National Journal Energy & Environment Expert Blog. The question was, "Obama's State of the Union: What Does It Mean for the Energy Agenda?"
This post originally appeared on the website of the Zero Emissions Resource Organization (ZERO) on December 16, 2011. ZERO is a partner in the Open Climate Network.
The European Commission has announced the adoption of its Energy Roadmap 2050, which explores the challenges of decarbonising the European Union while ensuring security of energy supply and economic competitiveness.
The roadmap’s analysis concludes that decarbonisation of the energy system is "technically and economically feasible" and that energy efficiency and renewables are a critical part of the mix. Its analysis is based on scenarios created by combining, in different ways, the four main decarbonisation routes – namely, energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
What are the top environmental and development issues that will shape 2012? This morning, I presented the World Resources Institute’s 9th annual “Stories to Watch” at the National Press Club. While we can’t predict the future, here’s a rundown of the key issues to keep an eye on: