Forbes recently featured a piece detailing the major American companies that are investing heavily in clean energy technologies–and why the rest of the country is still so hesitant about renewable energy.
Apple, Google, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire-Hathaway subsidy MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, and General Electric (GE) have all invested hundreds of millions, if not billions, in clean energy development over the last several years. Primarily these investments revolved about wind and solar developments in the United States.
But the Forbes article indicates that many other American companies are still reluctant to bet on the future of renewable energy. This is due to the delicate balance between the emerging cost-effectiveness of clean energy and conflicting messages from the federal government.
Substantial government subsidies are needed to bring the clean technology industry along, and those programs appear to be increasingly at risk. Despite the Obama administration’s hard push for renewable energy reliance, shifts in policy have stalled growth and hampered investor confidence. Erratic support for clean energy also lowers the cost-competitiveness of renewables in the energy marketplace.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that investments in wind, solar and other renewable energy developments dropped to a three-year low worldwide in the beginning of this year, an indication that investors are taking a “wait and see” approach to clean energy as subsidies are slashed around the globe. The U.S. wind industry is particularly vulnerable this year as a production tax credit is set to expire at the end of 2012.
Still, there was a bit of good news as Forbes highlighted some of the major investments Apple, Google, Warren Buffet and other corporations have made in clean energy technologies, including Apple’s new “green” data center in Maiden, North Carolina and Buffet’s $6 billion investment in wind projects primarily in the American mid-west.
President Obama also recently spoke to a crowd in Ohio in support of renewing the production tax credit for wind turbines.