New energy economy also relies on some old fossil friends.
Ken Silverstein is Editor-at-Large for Public Utilities Fortnightly. Contact him at email@example.com.
When President Obama strode through Pennsylvania Avenue on his way to the White House in January 2009, he promised "Change We Need" - a general slogan, but one that would come to rely on both green power and cleaner fossil fuels.
It's all centered on public sector financing or popular support. As for investments in emerging technologies, they would serve two purposes: to clean the environment and to create new jobs in potentially lucrative fields, such as wind and solar energies, or energy storage. In the early years of the Obama presidency, the Democratic congress amassed the votes to push through the president's $1 trillion stimulus plan that sent billions to various elements of the New Economy.
As to whether those clean power endeavors have fulfilled their promises is a function of one's political and economic beliefs. Obama's side, for example, is saying that wind and solar energies are providing thousands of new jobs - just what's needed to rebuild a broken economy. Designing the technologies is one piece. Building the turbines and solar panels in the United States is the other.
"Investments in wind, solar and improved energy efficiency are creating well-paying jobs for people of all skill levels and educational backgrounds," says a report by the Pew Charitable Trust. "These investments will revitalize not only the economy, but also help protect the global environment."