Clean energy policy choices will be critical both for economic vitality within the United States and for international competitiveness in the race to improve clean energy technology and capture emerging markets. With legislative solutions losing momentum, business and industry leaders will be the key drivers in reorienting American policy, discourse, and economics in the clean energy economy. The problem, however, is that many political and business leaders are unaware of the job-creating potential and economic benefits in the clean energy sectors. These benefits could be realized if we made a serious, strategic effort to align our latent strengths in manufacturing and engineering with the evolving opportunities in clean energy technology sectors. Addressing this problem presents a clear opportunity for the state of Michigan to take a leadership role in clean energy manufacturing and investment. Developing this lead role requires business and industry leaders to focus their power and influence to promote clean energy policy. They must also articulate and communicate to policymakers and legislators the market shift to a low-carbon economy. Investment, financial services, and insurance industries must lead this transition by providing more private incentives for clean energy and energy-efficient investment, while government should focus on crafting innovative financial tools that support investment in clean energy development. Competition and innovation in engineering, design, materials, and processes can make this the Sputnik moment of our time--an idea that we must embrace. While we make the case for clean energy development and innovation it is equally important to shed light on the existing energy subsidies that support carbon intensive energy sources. We must insist that, at minimum, the playing field be level when it comes to energy subsidies. As business leaders advance the innovations that advantage Michigan in global clean energy technology markets, they must involve government officials and policymakers in the day-to-day activities of building a low-carbon economy. Ramping up energy efficiency efforts in the industrial and commercial sectors is an intelligent business decision that public officials and business leaders can easily support. Utilizing these strategies will help concentrate the influence and creative capacities of business and industry leaders, building collaborations between industry, finance, and government and utilizing our research capabilities to transition to a low-carbon economy.
The Case for Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing: Ten Steps Business and Industry Must Take to Optimize Opportunities in the Emerging Clean Energy Economy,
Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mttlr/vol18/iss1/9