Trade & Industry Development Magazine

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July/August 2011
July/August 2011

In this issue, we will focus intently on the renewable energy sector. Up front, we have industry outlooks from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). And Ed McCallum, of McCallum Sweeney Consulting, provides an in-depth look at the potential for the renewable energy industry across the country. Andy Shapiro, of BLS Strategies, offers excellent insight into the criteria for properly siting data centers. And Fred Burkhardt, of Geneva Analytics, sheds light upon the retail sector and the outlook going forward. Also, don’t miss Jennifer Alten’s examination of green technology developments taking place across the country, or Linda Dobel’s article highlighting areas that offer a significant boost to quality of life. And Leslie Rubin, in her Insights piece, makes a strong case for envisioning a brighter future.

On the subject of clean industries and renewable energy, there are a few noteworthy developments of late worth pointing out. One is Bloomberg’s recent launch of its Corporate Renewable Energy Index (CREX). This is an index that will track companies’ sustainability efforts for investors. In GE’s 2010 ecomagination Report, it is noted that $85 billion in revenue has been generated by ecomagination projects over the last five years, and also that the company is doubling its clean-tech R&D investment to $10 billion over the next five years. Then there is the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative – a global organization that counts 850 investment institutions as signatories, with $25 trillion in assets under management. Part of the organization’s charter involves environmental responsibility, and they’ve got about 25 trillion reasons to re-examine sustainability efforts from a risk management perspective.
 

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In this issue...

The U.S. renewable energy debate between legislators reminds me of hamsters on an exercise wheel. They go round and round incessantly but ultimately go nowhere – but then, hamsters are not very smart. Therefore, let’s examine the renewable energy market in the United States. By its very definition, renewable means “that which is inexhaustible or replaceable by new growth.” In contrast, fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) are finite. Finite, of course, means it is limited and will end at some point in time. So think about this: inexhaustible versus finite – seems like a pretty simple argument to me. Granted, it may be 100, 200 or even 300 years before one of the fuel sources runs out, but it is only a matter of time before one does. Of course, nuclear energy can (and should) be part of the solution, but then a Chernobyl or Fukushima event occurs and grounds us with the reality of this technology. The popular notion that some new energy technology will be developed before we run out of fossil fuels without some cataclysmic event as a catalyst is contrary to historical events since mankind has been on this planet. What person would argue that a lack of a cohesive renewable energy policy will have no effect on the security of our country? There will always be a conflict over energy resources not to mention the debate over global warming, and it will not be settled by diplomacy. Apparently, many in Washington as well as over 1/3 of the states, either do not agree or the obvious simply escapes them. So, without any more political pontificating, let’s start with something that makes sense to everyone. Renewable energy means jobs and investment. more...

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