The following is a sponsored post by ABB‘s Betterworld program.
In late 2010, ABB commissioned a survey by Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services to find out just what top energy professionals think about the key energy issues facing the world today.
The findings were surprisingly encouraging with regard to renewable energy and smart grid technology, but they also revealed the importance of government investment and incentives to bring these concepts to the mainstream.
One remarkable finding of this survey was that 89 percent of energy professionals believe that government incentives trump markets in driving up energy efficiency uptake by consumers.
According to the report, “Stronger policies that are most favored by industry stakeholders are those that focus first on improving and incentivizing smart grid technology and then funding energy efficiency measures and setting minimum energy efficiency standards.”
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid 2030 vision (published in 2003 under the Bush administration) calls for the construction of “a 21st century electric system that connects everyone to abundant, affordable, clean, efficient, and reliable electric power anytime, anywhere” but what it didn’t outline is where the “hundreds of billions of dollars” necessary to accomplish this modernization of the electric system would come from.
Since 2003, renewable energy technology and smart grid potential have advanced quickly in both efficiency and affordability, making it essential for the government to act quickly if the 2030 vision is to be realized.
In his $28.4 billion FY 2011 DOE budget, President Obama requested a significant amount of money for renewable energy and a secure, reliable smart grid, including $108 million for research in wind, solar and geothermal energy, and nearly triple the amount of loan guarantees for renewable energy innovation (SmartGridNews).
This type of increased investment might seem hard to swallow given the massive deficit facing the U.S., but as ecopolitology’s Zach Shahan recently pointed out, it has become clear in the past couple of years that clean energy technology is the key category a country should focus on if it wants to lead the global economy. China has picked up on this and is now spending twice as much as the U.S. on clean energy technology, and there’s reason to believe that Japan will follow suit.
As Obama stated in June 2010, “As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition.” ABB is just one of many companies that will benefit from a transition to renewable energy and smart grid technology, and it’s encouraging to see that despite what some might say, there are large, successful companies out there working toward a future where subsidies are given to clean, growing industries instead of dirty, dying ones.
Photo: © David Woods | Dreamstime.com