2

Investment in green energy dims

A $100 bill inside a light bulb represents a green business idea

Kai Ryssdal: A year ago today, Congress gave up on its big climate change bill. It's the one that had cap-and-trade in it, an actual market for pollution which could have re-engineered the whole energy economy.

Last week, the House voted on light bulbs. The House GOP wants to block new energy efficiency rules. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Scott Tong has more on what a long strange year it's been in green energy policy.


Scott Tong: A year ago, companies, inventors and investors were planning for the New Math of energy: financial carrots for low-carbon emitters, sticks for fossil fuel producers.

Now, executives come to town and:

Tim Greeff: The term "worthless" has come out a number of times.

Tim Greeff is with the Clean Economy Network. Its members include new energy companies.

Greeff: It's a level of silliness which is similar to having styrofoam cups proactively put back in the cafeteria in the House office buildings. I mean there's moves more out of political spite than any sense of intelligence.

The gridlock has companies undoing big bets. Utility AEP just canceled a $668 million plan to capture carbon dioxide from coal smokestacks. The project assumed government credits -- or money -- for cutting emissions. At least four similar carbon-capture ventures have been canned lately.

Venture capitalist Rob Day at Black Coral Capital says in many cases, federal help doesn't make or break an energy investment. It's more of a tailwind.

Rob Day: It wasn't a determining factor as to whether somebody made an investment or not. But at the same time, it does affect overall momentum and enthusiasm.

For now, business has to make its own case. And in many clean-tech sectors, it does. Investment bank HSBC expects the world's low-carbon market to triple to $2 trillion by 2020.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.
Log in to post2 Comments

Thanks for this story. It's depressing to see Congressional reversals like this done for political points instead of attempting to solve the problems facing the American economy. I suppose since we buy everything made in China already, why not energy too?

Carbon-capturing, and highly-expensive and other-resource-intensive carbon-reduction, technologies are only "environmentally-friendly", "clean", or even "green" if human carbon emissions are in fact causing catastrophic climate change---a hypothesis which alarmists have yet to prove, or even *minimally substantiate*, despite supposed journalists on programs like this one spouting their undisguised propaganda as uncontested and incontrovertible fact. If you *want* to be seen as just one more cell in the propaganda arm of the Left wing of the Democratic Party, you're going at it the right way; if not ... do some *journalism* for once!

With Generous Support From...