2012 Will Be A Bad Year for Renewable Energy

In Durban, a city in South Africa, diplomats from over 190 countries met for an annual United Nations climate change summit. At the end of the summing an agreement was made in which the different nations decided they would begin to negotiate a new climate reality. It would be one that would eventually include all major emitters.  However, nothing is set in stone and it is not sure that an actual treaty will be put into action.

In Washington a potentially more important negotiation is in progress. Solar and wind companies in the United States are extremely concerned because they are not sure of the future of federal support for renewable energy. Wind energy was receiving government aid and grew 37% annually since 2009 but the government aid may expire at the end of the year unless congress takes further action. Because of our political climate, it is possible that renewable energy industries in this country will crash. This will negatively affect the fight against global warming as well as negatively affect the job market. Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association said: “Wind-turbine manufacturing has been a bright spot for the U.S. over the past few years but we’re putting those jobs at risk.”

Renewable energy replaces coal or burning gas, which is good for the climate. The PTC (Production Tax Credit) for wind energy will expire at the end of 2012 and in 2016 for solar energy. The solar energy industry is currently at risk of losing 37,000 jobs and missing out on two gigawatts of additional installation. Conservatives feel that these projects are too costly and we should be focusing more on “breakthrough-energy technologies”. However, this argument ignores the fact that the cost of renewable energy is dropping, and that our climate’s future depends on renewable energies.

Renee Dobrinsky

Topic: Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy

Source: In the article titled Why 2012 Will Be A Bad Year for Renewable Energy (2011)  Bryan Walsh TIime Science

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