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Perspective

Renewable Energy in the 21st Century:
Fortnightly Magazine - March 2005

perspective and have the added benefit of reducing our dependence on foreign energy suppliers." Romney believes that the Massachusetts' Renewable Energy Trust Fund "can become a major economic springboard … by focusing on job creation." In New York, Public Service Commission Chairman William M. Flynn supported the state RPS, noting "not only will it help us meet our growing demand for electricity, but it also will provide additional benefits by increasing fuel diversity from our state's generation portfolio, reducing our exposure to fossil fuel price spikes and supply interruptions, increasing economic development activity from a growing renewable energy industry, and improving our environment." On Sept. 23, 2004, Rendell announced that the Spanish wind energy company Gamesa Corp. agreed to base its U.S. headquarters and East Coast development offices in Philadelphia and to open an advanced technology manufacturing facility for wind turbine generator blades in Pennsylvania. Together with the construction, operation, and maintenance of its wind farms, Gamesa's two offices and factory are expected to create as many as 1,000 jobs in the commonwealth over the next five years. Rendell explains:

As Rendell's remarks, and the official announcements quoted above make clear, there is a combination of powerful forces driving bipartisan action on clean energy and energy technology. Republican and Democratic governors are concerned about the environment, dependence on foreign oil, energy costs, homeland security, blackouts, and job creation. Promoting clean energy and new energy technologies address all these issues. It is a course of action that is both a good solution for a host of real world problems and is also very good politics. That is a combination that neither Democrat nor Republican can resist.

Implications for the Future

The success and popularity of the programs described above will no doubt spur increased activity at both the state and federal level. More and more states will adopt programs to promote energy technology and renewables, each building on the successes of others. Eventually, the federal government may adopt an RPS or create an energy fund similar to those created by the states. (Both the CIA and Army have created government-funded venture capital funds). 5 Ultimately, one may see states competing with each other for dominance in one technology or the other; Connecticut's fuel cell companies may compete with Pennsylvania wind companies, while New Mexico may compete with Arizona to house new solar technologies. So, too, states may team together to focus even more dollars on promoting various energy technologies. No matter what their ultimate form, the actions by the state governments are good for the country and have profound implications for the future of energy technology and renewable energy.


Endnotes

    1. For a detailed description of programs by state, see the following Web sites:

    2. Creating the California Cleantech Cluster: How Innovation and Investment Can Promote Job Growth and a Healthy Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council/Environmental Entrepreneurs (Sept. 2004) at 42.

    3. To date, all renewable standards have been adopted by state legislatures. On Nov. 2, Colorado voters passed a statewide initiative requiring that state electricity providers derive 3 percent of their energy