One of President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign platforms was a promise to put green energy at the top of the “to do” list in the White House. Now that he’s just hours away from taking office, wind and solar power companies are hoping that he’ll make good on those promises. As Forbes reports, the green energy industry needs help.
Obama’s plans for the future seemed ambitious during the campaign. He pledged to double the amount of green power capacity within three years, creating millions of green-collar jobs. Last Thursday, the Democrats unveiled a $825 billion economic stimulus package proposed would give $32 billion to upgrading the power transmission grid, $16 billion to making public housing more energy-efficient, and $6 billion to weatherizing modest-income residencies. This plan, however, isn’t going to lead to an “overnight surge in new contracts and revenue,” experts say.
In reality, spending that much money on green power might prove to be difficult in today’s economic climate. As the economy spiraled downward, the number of investors interested in supporting green energy dwindled, and conflicts of state rights to power have kept crucial energy funding from being distributed. One Reuters analyst warns that the green energy industry shouldn’t count on a boost to their bottom lines during the next year.
Ask renewable energy companies what they want, though, and they have a very clear with list:
- Refundable tax credits
- Tax credit extensions
- A new electric transmission infrastructure
Experts note that Obama’s short term policies will only help the green power industry rebuild what it has lost over the past year, which actually means a decline in growth. With so much potential, as has been proven in the past, energy companies are hoping for even more help to set the industry right again. Analysts are hopeful when looking at the long-term plan for energy efficiency in the U.S.
The cornerstone of this new plan is the “smart grid,” which will use sensors to move electricity more efficiently and lead to consumer savings. By his second year in the White House, the general public could be seeing the effects of these plans.