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Steve Chiotakis: There’s likely to be a vote today in the U.S. House on legislation that would steer a lot of money — half a billion dollars or more a year — toward green automobile technology. It would be a boost for an industry that’s been hurting a lot. That’s on the heels of the Obama administration yesterday releasing plans to raise gas mileage standards to 35 and a half miles per gallon within seven years.
And clean energy investors are hoping for more assists like that from Washington. In New York today, there’s a meeting to try to drum up private investment for cleaner technologies. Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports.
John Dimsdale: Advocates of alternatives to fossil fuels say they’re not getting Wall Street’s attention.
Philip Verleger, an economist at the University of Calgary, says that’s because traditional fuels are still cheaper. Take solar power for example:
Philip Verleger: It is just not economically competitive with the more traditional means of generating electricity by either natural gas, which right now is very inexpensive, or coal.
But Mindy Lubber, the President of CERES, a group of pro-environment investors, says government policy favors dirty energy.
Mindy Lubber: We have had tax incentives for traditional fuels like coal, like natural gas, like nuclear power. But not for the renewable energy systems or energy efficiency.
Lubber says government limits on carbon pollution, as proposed in legislation moving through Congress, would trigger investments in clean technology. For example, she says, Europe’s carbon cap has sparked new money for wind, solar and geothermal power.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.