To compete globally, clean energy industry needs a federal partner
The current transformation in clean energy technology is nothing short of astounding. The industrial leaders of the 20th century can’t count on keeping their perch in the rapidly changing world we find ourselves in.
China alone accounted for nearly half of global clean energy investment and now they have their sights set on the rapidly growing electric vehicle market. Currently six of the big 10 electric car companies are Chinese and China is seeing the benefits. Air quality has begun to improve, their companies dominate the top 10 list of solar manufacturers, and they are making huge gains in wind, an industry traditionally dominated by Europe and the United States.
It’s not surprising that leaders throughout the globe and politicians of both parties devote special focus to manufacturing jobs; not only do they yield good wages and increased economic access to the middle class, but the benefits of manufacturing jobs stretch far beyond the factory floor and once the infrastructure is built stable communities can develop. It’s why states work so hard to put together incentive packages to lure factories producing new technologies, a pattern we’ve seen many times in the last decade with clean energy technologies in Michigan, New York, Colorado, Nevada, and Tennessee. Unfortunately, when it comes to clean energy manufacturing the federal government is no longer a reliable partner.
The Massachusetts based company, 1366 Technologies, with their cutting edge technology to produce dramatically cheaper solar wafers (the building block of solar cells), should be an American success story. After developing their process with support from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and prominent venture investors, 1366 built a successful demonstration plant and was on their way to building their first full-scale production plant in upstate New York until the Trump administration’s retreat from clean energy pushed them overseas.