The Greenwash Brigade

Response post: renewables can’t be stopped

Heidi Siegelbaum Oct 3, 2008

It looks like Michigan and Washington are closely aligned with their renewable portfolio standards of 10% by 2015 and 15% by 2020, respectively. But with all due respect Jim, I think Washington is kicking Michigan’s renewable derriere. We have 39 geothermal, solar, wave energy and wind projects in some forward marching phase, with 18 fully operational.

Gifted with massive coastal wave energy, the windy (and thankfully sunny) eastern part of Washington and geothermal deposits, we are using a suite of public policy tools, including the dreaded Initiative process, to move inexorably towards a clean energy economy in the Pacific NW.

Abyd Karmali from Merrill Lynch was right on target when he said “the carbon crunch is a multi-generational challenge that will significantly outlast the credit crunch.” Long-term success for renewable energy will come to fruition, even with the massive belching from Wall Street and its run for cover.

When we collectively stop quaking in our boots and recognize that financial outcomes are within our control, and when

  • Congress renews the renewable tax credit (and we know dirty fuels will come along for the ride, or no deal)
  • We adopt a “recovery/bailout/Mr. fix-it” plan that substantively changes banking regulation
  • Shareholder action and common sense reign in the obscenity of rewarding incompetence with golden parachutes
  • Citizens realize the returns from clean energy will create family wage incomes for many areas, critically more rural locations
  • Clean energy is a national security strategy and a human health imperative
  • We act on the recognition that a slash and burn, 1950s retrograde emphasis on inelegant technologies, scale and pollution, is not a pathway to economic success; and
  • Everyone follows the progressive lead of states and municipalities that just refuse to wait any longer for federal intelligence on this issue…

…the world will look a little brighter (and cleaner).

The credit markets will re-emerge, a certain number of venture capitalists will continue to fund renewable investments and when the dust settles over the nation, I’ll be glad I live in Washington (State that is). Washington also passed Green Jobs legislation not long ago, the objective of which is to increase the number of green jobs to 25,000 by 2020.

The positive returns for everyone from parents (with kids breathing good air quality), R&D, manufacturing, specialty trades, construction, legal, engineering and governments is just too enticing to let fall. If you disbelieve, just ask the U.S. Conference of Mayors who just released their green jobs report (link opens PDF). Communities everywhere will benefit from continued and increased investments in clean energy and cleantech overall, and it’s a good, forward looking story — just you wait and see.

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