The reason Obama’s plan for economic renewal through clean energy came up empty cannot be blamed on Republicans and global-warming deniers. In truth, the president’s strategy was flawed from the start. Cap-and-trade would not have birthed a domestic clean-energy economy — indeed, it wasn’t designed to. The idea that public works programs retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency could revitalize the inner-city was always far-fetched. A new industrial economy requires large, sustained investments in innovation and manufacturing like the kinds that built America’s information technology and biomedical industries. Too bad President Obama, Democrats and neoliberal greens still don’t seem to get it.
Wired profiles ten companies doing amazing, positive things, creating our new energy future. The innovations include plants that turn themselves into sugar, speeding the process to create biofuel; high altitude kites that produce electricity from the jet stream, superconductor electricity lines that carry more and waste less, and new ways to harness geothermal heat.
All over America, the news is spreading that long-term investment in our national infrastructure, is — amazingly — a good idea. I guess people start to wake up when bridges start to fail, schools fall apart, etc; the writing’s on the crumbling wall, so-to-speak. Rebuilding America is a trillion dollar plus project. Levees, roads, bridges.
But while we’re in the infrastructure inventory mood, why not look at some upgrades? God knows, whenever my computer takes a dive and I’m forced to replace it, I always look to moving my specs up a notch or two, don’t you?
Current infrastructure upgrades include:
the high-speed rail initiative catching up to technology already in wide use in other countries
smart grid technology creating two-way digital communication in the way we distribute energy
replacing our automotive fleets and buildings with cleaner and greener options that make a real contribution toward our nation’s sustainability portfolio.
But another infrastructure upgrade, possibility the most obvious, is simply making our homes and offices more energy efficient. And this is a project that will stimulate the economy and create 2,000,000 jobs over 10-15 years. Like health care reform, infrastructure repair, energy efficiency upgrades are a trillion dollar project.
Yesterday, in Missouri, 150 concerned citizens lobbied state legislators with the common sense idea behind improving our homes to higher levels of efficiency. Politically practical approaches were laid out featuring game-changing economic initiatives to make all this improvement work and job-creation possible.
Renew Missouri and Missouri Coalition for the Environment brought together small business owners, activists, green energy experts and other stakeholders to sound these sensible arguments and deliver important information about the latest developments in energy efficiency
The Army is researching hybrid and fuel cells for vehicles as well as better battery systems. They understand that energy security means creating your own energy.
The Army is well aware of its potential for pulling the entire civilian market into a more sustainable future in which oil and other fossil fuels follow national defense goals rather than leading them.
A few decades back DARPA created a little thing called the Internet. Hopefully the research they are doing now will create clean energy technologies of the same magnitude as the Internet.
“I want to apply rather stringent criteria to the investments,” said Soros in an e-mailed message. “They should be profitable but should also actually make a contribution to solving the problem.”
Welcome news indeed. More and more, the really smart money is investing long-term in cleantech. Because whoever funds a company that, say, makes algae biofuel commercially viable will make zillions for themselves and have the thanks of the planet as well.
This kind of funding is utterly different from that of the greedhead slime who cratered the economy with speculating in “fictitious capital” which is, as Karl Marx put it, money based on money that creates nothing.
Soros and other billionaires like Bill Gates, along with companies like Google, are helping create our clean energy future. The results of what they fund will be remembered long after the last Wall Street investment bankers have gone to prison for their role in the current financial crisis.