Clean, Renewable Energy is the Way to Sustainable Economic Development

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Thu, 12/29/2005 - 14:50.

Clean, Renewable Energy is the way, I couldn't agree more with Ed (Morrison) and his blog posting.  I recently posted some information regarding Biofuels - You can find that and some of my relevant comments here.  We have such a great position as a region and a state in several of these technologies- some surveys put us near the top in the nation for both Fuel Cell technology and Wind Power.  The prospects of a wind farm out in the Lake have become much more realistic in recent times - that project would make a signature statement much like a new signature bridge would for our city and region.  And as Ed so eloquently noted, moving to clean energy will translate bottom line to many new and interesting job possibilities and ultimately economic development.

Clean, Renwable energy is not only a great economic development possibility but a necessary move given the state of our ecosystem and planet.  Much debate has ensued over the possibility of 'Peak Oil' where supply (reifined oil) is outpaced by demand and creates price increases that would make alternative energy much more feasible and ultimately necessary.

Though experts are divided on the feasiblity of the scenario above, few can deny it behooves us to continue extensive research and development in renewable energy as a proactive means of preventing possible economic or environmental crises.  China has made a commitment to nuclear power as their clean alternative, it is of note, however since it does mitigate the negative impacts that country has produced to date in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

My preference - and the great opportunity - lies in the truly clean, renewable energies - wind, solar, biofuel, fuel cells.  Norm, I completely agree with your take on State-Level leadership and a disconnect with this region and its potential.  Though there have been some state-support successes (the Wright Fuel Cell Group, for example received considerable state funding from the Third Frontier Program championed by Robert Taft)  there needs to be much more of this. So perhaps we can better inform our state legislature representatives to champion the sustainability opportunity and convince all of the benefits to the entire state in terms of economic development (as well, of course in terms of environmental impact).

Also, commercialization efforts need to be married to intensive research and development efforts.  First the research done in these fields needs to be shared between universities and other research centers so alternative energy technology can be truly optimized and made more cost effective.  The obstacle to this is self interest on the parts of disparate parties which fight for the same funding, rush to be first to patent and profit, or desire acknowledgement as the true leader in the field.  Second, corporations with the capacity to provide necessary components to facilitate renwable energy technology need to be aware of this research and help invest in it to better commercialization possibilities.  They can help fund prototypes and stand to gain new market share and create new jobs if they successfully translate the IP generated by research into marketable products and services.

So continuing groundbreaking collaborative research, successfully partnering university / research centers with corporations, and clearly educating both the public and lawmakers to the  benefits of championing renewable energy all have tremendous potential and need to happen now.

Let's continue the dialogue and move to action on these initiatives!

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