The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Leading Global Investors Call the False Dichotomy Between Economy and Environment "Nonsense"

A top GE executive is calling the political battle between economy and environment "nonsense." In a video interview at an international clean energy investment conference last week, Mark Vachon, vice president of GE's successful Ecomagination program, hailed "environmental performance" as a key driver for business.

“There’s this theory that you have to pick one: economics or environmental performance. That’s nonsense. Innovation is the way you can have both,” said Vachon.

GE started the Ecomagination program in 2005 and has since invested more than $5 billion renewable energy, efficiency and smart grid technologies. The company saw such a powerful business case for clean technologies, it plans to double investments in the sector to $10 billion by 2015. According to Vachon, the $85 billion in revenue from cleantech has doubled the performance of the rest of the company’s portfolio.

“Companies that don’t get this, really risk becoming irrelevant to the marketplace. Whether you believe it for climate change or just the markets that are developing, it is our responsibility as businesses to be responsible to the design signal that the world is telling us,” he said.

One of the most important themes moving into America’s national elections is the perceived conflict between the economy and the environment. But leading investors from around the world representing a cumulative portfolio worth trillions of dollars gathered last week in New York City to explain why the two are inextricably linked — calling for strong, consistent government policies that help leverage private investment.

As the rhetorical bombs get tossed back and forth over energy issues in 2012, the business community is hoping to bring a little more sanity and perspective to the debate.

In 2011, global investments in clean energy amounted to $260 billion — bringing cumulative investments since 2004 to over one trillion dollars. Last year was also the first time that investment in renewable energy surpassed fossil fuels.

And this is only the beginning of a very long transition. The International Energy Agency issued a report in 2009 concluding that investments need to reach $37 trillion a year by 2030 in order to avert the worst of global warming. We’re not there yet, however. If we continue on our current path, Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that we’ll reach about $400 billion in global investments per year by 2020 — still a very impressive figure.

Although leading investors consider clean energy one of the greatest wealth creation opportunities in history, some politicians in Washington — particularly those who think global warming is a hoax — don’t seem to be listening to what the private sector is telling them.

“Today, investors can deploy capital in a manner that brings them stable returns while also addressing the need for low carbon energy — and that is through the finance of renewable energy projects,” said Bill Green, senior managing director of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, an asset fund management firm.

“When investors deploy capital into renewable energy projects, they’re investing in proven technologies: solar PV, wind, biomass, geothermal. These technologies can be put to work today. Deals can be structured such so that investors can enjoy virtually bond-like, long-term returns with immediate yield,” said Green in a video interview at last week’s investor conference.

Political leaders like to pride themselves on acting more like business leaders than politicians. But if they actually listened to what the private sector was telling them, sustainability would be a top national priority, not a politically dirty word.

This article was originally published on Climate Progress and was republished with permission.

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

RELATED ARTICLES

Electricity Deregulation

Japan Electricity Deregulation: Birth of Municipally Owned Electric Utilities

Junko Movellan, Correspondent The upcoming retail electricity deregulation in Japan will create a way for Japanese municipal governments to produce...
Solar panel

REC Joins O Capital in Egypt to Tap Solar Panel Market in Middle East, Africa

Anna Hirtenstein, Bloomberg REC Solar ASA has signed a deal with O Capital, the renewable energy arm of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Hold...
Solar PV

OneEnergy Seeks Authority to Build 6 MW Solar PV Facility in Southern Maryland

Jennifer Delony OneEnergy Renewables is seeking regulatory approval in Maryland to build a 6 MW solar PV facility in Somerset County,...
Solar water heating

California Regulators Propose Expansion of Eligibility Requirements for Solar Water Heating Program

Jennifer Delony The California Public Utilities Commission has proposed expanding the eligibility requirements for customers seeking ...

PRESS RELEASES

Canadian Solar Wins Five Solar Power Projects Totaling 185 MW in Brazil

These power projects were won under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the B...

$100 Off of 5-day Advanced PV Project Experience. Download a Topic Schedule.

Assemble, ground, energize, and commission a complete grid-tied SolarEdge system from s...

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talks politics of fear vs. politics of hope

Rudd, who led the Australian parliament from 2007 to 2010, told the Summit audience tha...

Intersolar AWARD „Solar Projects in India“ – Applications being accepted until September 18

The Intersolar AWARD in the category Solar Projects in India honors projects in the fie...

FEATURED BLOGS

Washington, DC Bridges the Solar Gap

The District of Columbia has enjoyed 15 years of strong economic growth. But prosperity is spread unevenly across the...

Sell Through Hypothesis

You first learned to hypothesize, or make educated guesses, in grade school science class. Now it’s time to ref...

Cronimet / THEnergy study: In solar for mines size does not always matter - Reducing CAPEX with energy efficiency and load shifting

Munich, September 2015. Mining companies are constantly gaining interest in solar solutions because frequently solar ...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program from

FINANCIAL NEWS

I am a reporter with ClimateProgress.org, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in to...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Doing Business in Europe – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

There is now 128.8 GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU (appro...

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

COMPANY BLOGS

Sell Through Hypothesis

You first learned to hypothesize, or make educated guesses, in grade sch...

Vacancy? No Problem!

Have you ever tried to sell an efficiency product or service to a prospe...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal...

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program f...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS