By Vice Admiral (Ret.) Dennis McGinn, President, American Council On Renewable Energy
As a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, I know that it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive when making a decision. On the battlefield you cannot wait for 100% certainty to make a decision. The element of risk is always present when making a decision, especially investing into a project, company, or technology. It is how our markets work; how businesses get started and thrive— or fail. And despite due diligence, a few clean tech companies are among the many companies that have failed in this rocky economy. The difference with the failed clean tech companies is that they have been singled out and spotlighted by detractors as “proof” that clean energy is just too risky to invest in. This is far from the truth as financial analysts predict over a trillion dollars will be invested in the global solar industry in the next decade. Companies like Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company have committed $6 billion to U.S. wind energy. Google has invested nearly $1 billion in clean energy. And Goldman Sachs plans to invest $40 billion in renewables over the next decade.
I think some Americans believe using renewable energy and other clean technologies on a much larger scale means undermining our economic stability; forcing unwanted sacrifices on Americans. I strongly believe this to be the opposite. By adopting clean energy on a large-scale, we’re also addressing the problems of a slow growing economy by providing jobs to Americans. Numerous studies have demonstrated that “green jobs” are growing at a faster rate than most other industry jobs. We also know that solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal, and other alternative fuels are already contributing to a cleaner America by generating 13% of the country’s electricity. And studies have shown the very real potential to generate even more electricity – 25% of our country’s needs by 2025—from our abundant solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and bioenergy resources. Still, this information is not convincing our political leaders to make the right decisions on energy policy.
At ACORE, we’ve known for a long time that investors have a very different perspective of clean energy than many legislators. Clean energy has huge upside which is why in 2011, clean tech was the #1 category of new venture capital in the U.S. And our nation’s military is at the forefront of increasing the deployment of renewable energy. And let me remind you, the military makes decisions off data and intelligence it collects. These are calculated decisions, not political ones! So why has the military’s use of biofuels become a political issue? Because many of our politicians make their decisions based on misinformation and a misunderstanding of the bigger issues. Enter www.energyfactcheck.org @EnergyFactCheck.
Opponents of clean and renewable energy push the occasional bad news as if it’s the only news. ACORE launched www.energyfacthceck.org to supply fact-based answers to claims against renewables. We’ve gathered the most relevant reports, news, and numbers to provide site visitors with the real story on renewable energy. We want Americans to be informed and voice their concerns to political leaders on energy issues. It’s time for our leaders to open their eyes, analyze the data and realize the potential of renewable energy in America. It’s time to secure America’s clean energy economy.