The following essay is a guest post by Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress.
CNNmoney.com just released a summary outlook on the solar, wind, biofuel (mainly ethanol), and efficiency industry financial sectors. The two looking most optimistic are wind and efficiency, and thus both sectors are overflowing with opportunity.
According to one investment portfolio manager, efficiency investments are reliable and essentially fundamental. In his words, investing in efficiency is like putting your money on the arms dealer in a war or conflict — no matter which side wins (or which sector), the arms dealer simply can’t lose.
Of the “riskier” sectors, analysts are most optimistic about wind power. But they lament that there is no U.S. manufacturing company in which to invest — the two main options are European. In this one fact, there are several implications and opportunities.
The U.S. is trailing the world in terms of renewable energy technology and manufacturing. The is hard to come to terms with because it’s not natural for us to be lagging where there are so many exciting possibilities.
But there is an opportunity here: we need to be investing more of our future into this industry — into research, development, and deployment, capital, manufacturing plants, and “green collar” jobs. Wind farm installation cannot be exported abroad, nor should turbine manufacturing or investment in those companies be shipped elsewhere.
It could not be more clear which sort of major investment needs to be made into wind energy (and other renewable energy sectors). The Center for American Progress has framed our energy and climate crises as looming economic opportunities (in their “Capturing the Energy Opportunity” report), and CNNmoney’s report reiterates just that point. Without moving into these blatant spaces, we’re leaving gaping holes in our economic prosperity, global competitiveness, and energy future.