Weathering the Storm With Clean Tech

According to an annual report from research firm Clean Edge, the “big three” in clean energy — solar photovoltaics, wind and biofuels — expanded globally by 50 percent in 2008, while wind sector revenues exceeded $50 billion for the first time. While the current economic situation might stunt clean technology’s growth in the near term, long-term growth in this area is expected to boom, and that would mean stimulation for the economy and more jobs in the tech industry.

“Our mid- to long-term assessment is that this is one of the few sectors of the economy that is likely to weather the storm quite a bit better than most other sectors,” said Ron Pernick, co-founder and managing director of Clean Edge Inc. and co-author of The Clean Tech Revolution.

Pernick said a number of drivers will give clean tech an edge in the coming years. Benefits include less cost volatility than with traditional energy sources, greater ease in obtaining permits to build clean energy infrastructure — think of gaining buy-in for a wind farm vs. a coal plant — energy security and a continuing decline in the costs associated with renewables. In fact, many governments already are including clean energy as part of their economic plans, including the U.S., Germany, Japan and Greece, he said.

“We don’t only need reliable electrons; we need efficient and clean electrons,” Pernick said. “That’s the big shift. And so, that’s driving a lot of the changes right now, and the regulation is now shifting…


Meagan Polakowski

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