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

RELATED ARTICLES

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to c...

Stolen Solar Panels and Sabotage A Challenge for Powering India With Renewable Energy

Anindya Upadhyay, Bloomberg Disappointment spread across Tarun Singh’s face when he saw that parts of his solar power microgrid in eastern India’...

Suntech Parent Company Buys Majority Share of US-based Suniva

Ehren Goossens Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., the Hong Kong-based solar company controlled by billionaire Zheng Jianming,...

Sunrise in Pakistan as the Country Delves into Solar PV

Robert Harker Pakistan has joined the list of countries that are exploring solar power as a means to bridge critical energy generat...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

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

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

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

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

COMPANY BLOGS

How To Recruit An Internal Ally

When you’re collecting information for a proposal, the person with...

The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding

One of the best ways to turn a skeptical prospect into a buyer is to giv...

Pushing Beyond The Cushion

Efficiency projects are all too often viewed as “optional” o...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS