Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week ought to serve as an urgent wake-up call to anyone that cares about America’s energy, environmental, and economic future. At the podium, Romney chided President Obama on global warming, and his hoped-for GOP administration is advancing an “energy independence” plan built much more on the polluting industries of the past than the innovative clean technologies of the present and future. Somehow, global warming, renewables, and other clean-tech pursuits have become some of his favorite punch lines.
But clean tech is far from a laughing matter. Instead it’s the stuff of major multinationals such as GE, Toyota, and Siemens who are investing and making billions of dollars annually from their clean-tech initiatives; of startups including Tesla, SolarCity, and Agilyx who are respectively working to innovate electric vehicles, solar power finance, and plastics recycling; and of young Americans across our nation working to advance clean technologies, address climate change, and build thriving for-profit and non-profit ventures.
And contrary to what some would like you to believe, renewables energy production isn’t a marginal industry; it’s expanding rapidly in importance and penetration. In 2010 three states got more than 10 percent of their electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal. One year later, the number had doubled to six states including South Dakota and Iowa, which now generate approximately 20 percent of their total electricity from the wind alone. Clean tech isn’t shrinking; it’s starting to scale up to significant percentages for utilities, cities, states, and nations.
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