Friday, November 2, 2012

U.S. needs to change its lethargic energy policy to win clean energy race

China currently leads the way in clean energy race by being the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels and wind turbines, and accounting for more than one million renewable energy jobs. 

The United States has a lot of catching up to do, and this is something relatively unknown to U.S., something that America hasn't done too often. From the current perspective it looks like China could remain global clean energy leader for some time, mostly because of several major deficiencies in U.S. clean energy politics.

For starters, U.S. still doesn't have nationwide renewable energy standard. The standard on federal level would create excellent foundation for future renewable energy development because it would give investors long-term certainty by forcing electric utilities to gradually increase the percentage of renewable energy sources in their power supply. 

U.S. president Obama used to spoke heavily about the nation's clean energy future, but this talk has somewhat cooled down in the last year or so, likely because fossil fuel lobbies are still too powerful so there is still not enough interest in Congress to come up with the federal renewable energy policy.

Without federal renewable energy standard U.S. will fail to give China (and even EU) decent challenge in clean energy race. This could in long run jeopardize U.S. position as the world's strongest economy.

U.S. needs to show that it means business, and it needs to show it fast, otherwise the gap will soon become too big. This means proper renewable energy policy, more research and funding, and also more focusing on creating strong renewable manufacturing base.

Strong renewable manufacturing sector is something that U.S. renewable energy industry is desperately in need of. Thanks to strong manufacturing base China now has over one million renewable energy jobs, and this is certainly an example from which U.S. can learn (together with more aggressive clean energy policy applied by China).

Renewable energy means both environmental and economic benefits. U.S. has abundance of renewable energy resources at its disposal, and this alone should be enough for U.S. to become more competitive on global clean energy market.

The U.S. energy policy will however require a total makeover, by taking an initiative instead of sitting behind and waiting for better times. The lethargic energy policy is the last thing U.S. needs right now. Unless you're a China, of course.