30 January 2008

Clean Tech: Bush US$2bn to Stimulate Clean Tech Development in...China and India?

"Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources," President Bush said in his final State of the Union address Monday night.

The fund essentially represents a commitment of US$2 billion over three years. Add this to the US$18 billion Bush has already put together over the last seven years, mainly for R&D, and you begin to think momentum is building.

But the latest commitment pales in comparison to the US$10 billion clean technology pledged by Japan in Davos yesterday and US$15 billion from the Abu Dhabi emirate last week. And the Bush $2bn is intended to stimulate clean tech development in...China and India.

The Bush pledge is either arm-twisting or noble gesture, take your pick; but it seems to me we're stimulating the wrong economies here.

We wanted to hear from President Bush that it's time for the US to take the lead in clean technologies, to build our energy security, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and jumpstart the new green economy.

This on the heals of news from Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, which told their global clients that China is launching a grenade into the camp of the global wind turbine industry with a low-cost option that may just rule the day. Apparently, they got wind of the World Wind Energy Council's (GWEC) claim that China will leap to the top of the list of wind turbine producers as early as 2009.

"For my members now, one of the big issues is to prepare for the onslaught of relatively inexpensive Chinese turbines onto the world market," Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the GWEC, said, adding that no Chinese companies were exporting at present.

"The two that have big export plans starting in 2009 and 2010 are Gold Wind, which has really been the market leader (in China) and Sinovel," Sawyer said.

Meanwhile, the US economic stimulus package that passed the House of Representatives today does not include an extension of tax incentives for alternative energy development here at home. It still has a shot on the Senate floor, where US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) spoke in support of the extension last Thursday.

"They [the incentives] have the desirable benefit of getting immediate short-term results," said Cantwell, "that is -- significant economic activity and new jobs in 2008. And they also result in long term benefits. This is the ideal type of stimulus expenditure for us to make.

"Extension of these clean energy tax incentives provide just the short term stimulus that people and businesses immediately need. And it demonstrates the type of foresighted leadership that the American taxpayers expect."

So, where is our leadership for the new green economy, Mr. Bush? China? India? Abu Dhabi? How does that stimulate our economy? How does that contribute to our energy security?

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