How to Build a Competitive Nation
By BRAD COLLINS
leading the renewable energy revolution
It takes market incentives,
business-friendly rules and leadership.
Last month we reported on some of the lessons ASES has
learned in the renewable energy and energy-efficiency (RE/
EE) industries (see “Renewable Energy, Efficiency Create Jobs for U.S. and Colorado,” by Roger H. Bezdek, p. 16 of
the March issue).
We’ve now presented the green jobs study to state legislators,
members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Energy. We can
project our findings about state competitiveness to the national scene.
In cultivating RE/EE enterprises, we must establish a ready market.
• Establish a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS), renewable electricity standard (RES) or feed-in tariff (FIT) to set market
targets. The rule needs to be ambitious, technology specific and of sufficient duration that it will nurture innovation and stimulate markets.
• Create tax incentives for the creation of domestic RE/EE jobs.
A green economy will depend on a labor force that can compete with
the lower labor costs in other countries.
• Establish a tax credit for green manufacturing.
• Swiftly plan and build a robust national smart green transmission grid.
• Provide long-term incentives for energy efficiency, including weatherization, Energy Star
appliances and energy-focused building codes.
• Establish an upstream cap-and-auction scheme for carbon.
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Brad Collins is the
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To create a welcome environment for business the federal government should —
• Create long-term RE/EE tax credits. Germany and Japan built competitive photovoltaic
industries through tax incentives lasting 20 years.
• Create federal loans and grants for workforce development, matching skills and education
to the needs of RE/EE businesses.
• Establish a federal Green Job Corps, advancing employment opportunities to those who
normally are last in line for employment assistance.
• Support the goals of Architecture 2030 to build net-zero-carbon buildings. Establish a
National Building Energy Code.
• Promote smart metering and time-of-use rates for utilities.
Magazine Advisory Council
Paul Notari, Co-chair
Ken Sheinkopf, Co-chair
Jane M. Weissman
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To accomplish anything, we need leadership. The president and Congress can learn critical
lessons from the governors and legislatures of successful RE/EE states.
• Lead by example. Require energy-efficiency measures in all federal buildings, and solar and
other RE technologies in all appropriate buildings.
• Purchase only high-mileage and electric vehicles for federal fleets.
• Promote the widespread adoption of Energy Star products.
• Remove all barriers to onsite electric generation.
• Fully fund energy education. Energy literacy may be the biggest challenge we face in moving to the sustainable energy economy.
• Expand mass transit, including a solar highway demonstration project.
• Create a carbon-neutral mortgage company, Connie Mae. Connie Mae would remove the
purchase price barrier for energy-efficient homes through innovative mortgage finance instruments that capture the future income from the expected energy cost savings.
• End subsidies to mature energy industries. ST
ASES Board of Directors
John Reynolds, Chair
Margot McDonald, Chair-elect
Travis Bradford Paulette Middleton
Richard Caputo Nathan Mitten
David Comis Victor Olgyay
Gregory Edwards Bill Poulin
Barbara Farhar Dave Renné
Allison Gray Mary Spruill
David Hill Jennifer Szaro
Jason Keyes Mark Thornbloom
8 april2009 SOLAR TODAY solartoday.org
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