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California and the Global Green Energy Economy
Published on May 2, 2011
Check out 'California and the Global Green Energy Economy' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Entrepreneurs forming a company in California are likely familiar with the Golden State's web of regulatory and tax-related burdens. It has been enough to convince legislators to visit their economic rivals in Texas to seek guidance on how to rejuvenate competition, job creation and market activity in the state.
While their answer was simple - less regulation, less taxes - there is one area that no other state has been able to match: clean energy.
California boasts the most active renewable energy markets in the country, rivaling global leaders like Germany and China. However, the state's burgeoning green tech sector may be founded on an economically baseless structure: politics.
The state has passed and recently upheld legislation calling upon utilities to receive one-third of their total energy from renewable sources by 2020. While many argue that the incentive will spur demand for clean energy startups, technologies and consulting services, others point to the green sector's overall lack of economic incentive as evidence of inevitable shortcomings.
The Global Legislators Organization reported this week that the world's 16 largest economies have all advanced some form of climate change legislation, with the vast majority of the measures progressed within the last year-and a-half, suggesting political action is beginning to take shape, despite the failures of recent climate summits and conferences.
However, many experts question if real change can be achieved through legislation alone. Free market bulls and regulatory proponents alike agree that a tangible economic incentive - a sort of financial methadone - is needed to mitigate the world's addiction to fossil fuels, especially petroleum.
"But whether green enterprise will become a major economic engine in American society at large - and create myriad new jobs of all kinds that somehow tip society's balance in favor of 'sustainability' - remains to be seen," points out Tim Johnson for the Burlington Free PRess Press.
In the mean time, there are a number of energy alternatives. The U.S. solar industry, for example, grew by more than 100 percent last year and currently employs more than 93,000 private sector workers, according to The Solar Foundation. With unemployment at stubbornly high rates, such installations may also be able to alleviate the problem of stalled job creation.
Whatever the solution, most experts agree it will likely be a comprehensive amalgamation of many different energy technologies.