By Jeffrey McKenzie
Attacked for being a failed investment that lacks efficiency, green technology has become a partisan issue as the election nears. However, a look at the facts of green technology shows that despite the negative rhetoric, green technology is thriving. As such, Americans should fight to ensure that this nascent industry is supported by both public and private industry.
The solar power industry is actually on the rise, experiencing record profits, expansion, and falling costs that have dropped about 40 percent since 1998. Similarly, options for wind power have expanded, now accounting for about 35 percent of the growth of electricity capacity of the United States in the last five years.
Renewable energy as a whole is expected to grow to $2.3 trillion within a decade and is also not subject to the variable costs that have led to rising costs for traditional fossil fuels.
However, for the first time since the active development and investment in green energy, its future now stands at a crossroads. Wind power is at risk if Congress allows a tax credit expire by the end of the year.
In the short-term, fossil fuels will still be necessary for economic growth. The most important step is to use the current abundance of fossil fuels as a jumping-off point for a future dominated by the green technology industry. Beginning the investment now is necessary in order to meet future demand and expand the economy.
To meet this goal, federal and local green technology standards along with public and private investment must be implemented. If the United States ends the existing tax incentives and investments, as many politicians propose, the United States would fall outside of the forefront of green technology development and the industry would be prevented from growing.
The issue comes down to whether or not the United States will continue to play a vital role in an expanding industry. Green technology provides the opportunity to grow jobs and release the United States from dependence on foreign fossil fuels if people are willing to make the initial investment.