Clean Energy Economy Gets Boost

August 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

The clean energy economy has “tremendous potential for growth” due to policies that create incentives to “develop new technologies, infrastructure and processes for clean energy, efficiency and conversation,” according to a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Five types of policies — Financial Incentives, Renewable Portfolio Standards, Energy Efficiency Standards, Regional Clean Energy Initiatives and Vehicle Emissions Standards — should continue to fuel the growth of the clean energy technologies over the coming years. Effective leveraging of federal stimulus dollars intended for renewable energies also should help to spur economic growth and innovation in the sector. For example, utilizing $36 million in stimulus dollars, Florida launched its Clean Energy Investment Program to spur long-term growth in the clean energy sector.

Currently, 65% of green jobs are in conservation and pollution mitigation. These jobs perform several functions including recycling waste, conserving water and mitigating emissions of pollutants including greenhouse gases. These jobs, however, are not going to be the future drivers of the clean energy economy. Clean energy, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly production sectors have seen dramatic growth in jobs over the past few years, according to Pew data. These sectors also have received a significant amount of the venture capital funding with 80% of 2008 venture capital investments in the clean energy economy going to the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors, according to Pew.

The report identifies the role of policy as a significant factor in the growing interest in the clean energy economy. Federal and state policymakers have aggressively pushed legislation that would spur economic growth, curb pollution and conserve natural resources. During the Great Recession, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) pumped almost $85 billion into the clean energy economy, according to the report. Governors and state legislators also have turned their attention to the green economy to create well-paying jobs and achieve environmental sustainability. Pew identifies a variety of state policies including:

  • Forty-six states offer some form of tax incentive for business or consumers
  • Twenty-nine states have adopted renewable energy portfolio standards
  • Nineteen states have established energy efficiency standards
  • Twenty-three states are participating in three regional clean energy initiatives
  • Fourteen states have adopted California’s vehicle emissions standards.

States also have attempted to leverage federal stimulus dollars to create long-term returns for their clean energy economies. For example, the Florida Opportunity Fund recently launched the Clean Energy Investment Program. Utilizing $36 million in federal stimulus dollars, this program will fund the adoption of clean energy technology across the state. The Clean Energy Investment Program will provide direct investments to Florida business to fund improvement of facilities and equipment with energy-efficient products and materials, acquisition or demonstration of renewable energy products and improvement of production and other processes to increase energy efficiency.

Read the entire Pew report:


Entry filed under: Alternative Energy, Clean Energy Economy, Pew Center on the States. Tags: , .

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