Power Efficiency Corporation (OTCBB: PEFF.OB), a green energy company focused on efficiency technologies for electric motors, today announced that it has entered a formal distribution agreement with CED Elevator Supply Division – West.
Power Efficiency Corporation and CED Elevator Supply Division Enter Distributor Agreement to Provide Motor Efficiency Controllers to Elevator and Escalator Industry
Green Investor Audio Series; Interview with Ira Ehrenpreis of Technology Partners, Investing in Energy Technology, Water Technology and Materials Science Opportunities
Yingli Green Energy Subsidiary Signs Five-Year US$50 Million Credit Facility Agreement with DEG and FMO
Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (NYSE: YGE) (“Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced that Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd (“Tianwei Yingli”), the Company’s principal operating subsidiary, has entered into a five-year credit facility agreement with DEG – Deutsche Investitions – und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (“DEG:) and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (“FMO”).
Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (NYSE: YGE) (“Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced that it has entered into a framework agreement with the local government of a county in Beijing regarding the proposed construction of a 10 MW solar power plant.
Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited announced that it has entered into a framework agreement with the local government of a county in Beijing, China regarding the proposed construction of a 10-megawatt (MW) solar energy plant.
Google is continuing its drive to make solar power competitive with fossil fuels. The internet giant announced that it is internally testing a new mirror for concentrated solar power plants that could cut the cost of building those plants in half. While Google remains secretive about the details regarding their new technology, its green energy czar Bill Weihl said that if development and testing go as planned, the mirrors could be ready for use in one to three years.
Google has in recent years asserted itself as a major investor in renewable energy, investing $10 million each in Brightsource Energy and eSolar, two budding solar startups. They’ve also begun work on their own solar innovations, including experimentation with unconventional materials for mirror surfaces and the substrates that they’re mounted to.
Although the prototype mirrors are reportedly not ready for external testing, Google says that both Brightsource and eSolar are interested in the technology. “If it works, it would absolutely be something they would use,” said Weihl. Exactly how the new mirrors would cut the cost of solar thermal power in half is unclear, as is how long it will be until we can learn more about the product. Such is the case with so much solar technology, as Google and a host of other solar tech companies scramble to create technologies that will put solar power on par with fossil fuels. But while that technology gestates in the laboratory, it will continue to be a waiting game for those of us on the outside, a game in which Google and its potentially revolutionary mirror are the latest players.
Photo Credit: Financial Post
Kenneth Green is a noted conservative. He is an environmental scientist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a leading conservative think tank. In a recent editorial published in US News & World Report, Mr. Green asserted that green energy jobs cannot come from the Obama administration’s “big government meddling.” The basis of the argument is simply that only consumer demand for goods and services can actually “create” jobs, and that government subsidies only prop up one industry while stealing jobs from another, resulting in net job destruction within the national economy.
It’s an argument hashed and rehashed hundreds of times by free market conservatives, but one that holds little weight anymore (as, ironically, consumer demand for green energy skyrockets) and becomes laden with hypocrisy (if, perish the thought, subsidies for conventional energy sources were to be cut).
Whether government “meddling” has created it or not, let me reiterate that consumer demand for green energy and green products is skyrocketing. Remember that it was consumers (voters) and their local and state governments who, while the federal government sat comparatively idle, bought organic foods, sought out energy efficient products, embraced new forms of energy and brought the green energy movement to the forefront of American thought and culture. Meanwhile, the so-called free market sat by and watched our energy infrastructure fall to pieces, facilitated shipping our manufacturing jobs overseas and created the ridiculously convoluted bubble of speculation that now defines our unsustainable economy.
Since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, millions of jobs have been lost to slashed import tariffs, offshore tax havens, free trade zones and corporate globalization. Little has been done to curb that trend, until now, when a little is being done. But a little is too much for conservatives like Kenneth Green. Would Mr. Green have stood against the coal industry when our electric grid was being built over a century ago? After all, imagine the jobs lost delivering lamp oil or lantern manufacturing. What we have here is a basic resistance to change, funded by the industries with the biggest profits to lose. “Jobs” is just a keyword used to incite fear and apprehension among the populace — a tool to rally the Everyman to the corporate cause. But it’s not working…
The Double Standard
Green argues that government subsidies don’t “create” jobs, but rather destroy them, and implies that only a real, self-sustaining industry (i.e. coal, oil and gas) with adequate consumer demand can create and maintain jobs. If that’s true, then why is there such a fury from conservatives like Kenneth Green when the notion of cutting subsidies for the fossil fuel energy sector is raised? For instance, President Obama, in accordance with an agreement signed by the G20 nations last year, included proposed cuts to conventional energy subsidies in his 2011 budget. In response, lawmakers from coal-dependent states flipped their lids. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would not give it any support, asserting through a spokesman that a coal tax and/or a tax on conventional energy sources would “hurt Kentucky families dependent on coal for their livelihood,” implying that valuable jobs would be lost under such a budget.
But the revealing fact is that while Green and his peers resist subsidizing the new green energy sector, which cannot create jobs, the idea of cutting far more generous and long-standing subsidies to the coal, oil or gas industries would undoubtedly destroy thousands, if not millions, of jobs. Between 2002 and 2008, fossil fuels received $72 billion in government subsidies, apparently maintaining jobs for thousands of hardworking Americans, while the solar industry, for example, received about $1 billion in that same time span. So, Kenneth Green, where does consumer demand start and government meddling end?
The truth behind opinions like those expressed by Kenneth Green (see him in action with John Kerry at a Senate hearing) is an industry that does not want to let go of a good thing. It has nothing to do with American jobs. It has everything to do with milking every last dime out of a dying industry — an industry that happens to be damaging our planet.
Win or Lose with Manufacturing
Yet, when Green talks about a net job loss from green energy subsidies, he may not be far off. I agree that simply throwing money at the solar, wind or geothermal industry is not enough. That helps level the playing field for a new, greener wave of corporate dominance, but it won’t do enough for jobs on the ground. Correct, installation jobs cannot be outsourced, a fact touted to extremes by green energy proponents, but the real backbone of the industry will be in manufacturing, which China is already coming to dominate. As things stand, and as Green correctly points out, American manufacturers simply cannot compete with low labor costs and lax regulation in China.
But I separate from my tentative agreement with Green when he says, “Anyone who thinks the United States is going to compete with China for windmill and solar cell manufacturing, given that nation’s lower labor rates and greater access to vital rare-earth elements, is living in a fantasy world.” I dare say that anyone who thinks this country can survive by relying on fossil fuels and Laissez-Faire economic policies is living in a fantasy world. Only the corporate model can survive in that scenario, leaving the middle class in a perpetual state of debt-slavery and worsening working and living conditions.
Better yet, only a few simple policy changes could make that fantasy a reality. At least decent import tariffs, which dropped from somewhere around 30% to roughly 2% in the last 30 years, would be a good start. Secondly, we could stop subsidizing fossil fuels which, by Kenneth Green’s model, must only be hurting the energy industry anyway.
Profit, Planet, People
Finally, another paradigm change that Green fails to recognize is popular demand for a new socially responsible business model. Gone are the days of the one-track bottom line in which cash profits rule the day. Joining the bottom dollar are environment and people. Does your business equally promote economy, environment and society? A low price tag isn’t enough anymore. A rapidly growing consumer base wants to know where that product came from, how its production affected the regional and global climate, and how well the workers involved were paid and treated. This is a notion that many in the conservative arena can’t wrap their heads around. But they’d be wise to do so, because such is the ethical and moral zeitgeist that continually gains momentum around the world. Renewable energy is an easy fit into that new triple bottom line — and something worth subsidizing. We just need to make sure we’re doing it right.
Novato-based SolarCraft announced the completion of a solar electric generating system at the newly renovated Jackse Winery in Glen Ellen. The historic building is now powered by clean, green energy.
Europe, North America and Asia have been the primary drivers of the green tech industry thus far, especially in the realm of wind and solar power. Meanwhile, Arab countries have maintained their…