Monday, March 12, 2012

The Future of Energy and the Environment According to Ian Bowles

Ian A. Bowles is an American environmentalist, politician, and political aide who served as Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs from 2007 to 2011. From 1999 to 2001, Bowles was the associate director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He also has experience in the private sector.

As reported in Nature of Business radio, host Chrissy Coughlin interviewed Ian Bowles, here are excerps of that interview:

"The U.S. as a national government is profoundly out of step with the rest of the world in terms of clean energy. Forget about how you feel about climate change. Even leaving that aside, the basic economic reason to make this transition is very strong."

At the state level, Ian describes how Governors and legislatures can and are working together to put in place renewable energy quotas and energy efficiency mandates for these two levels of government.

Ian talked specifically about the different forms of renewable energy and associated issues including tax credits. In addition to supporting an extension of the PTC for wind power he indicated that the challenge for solar is to convert federal tax credit into cash grants.

Ian only sees a bright future for renewable energy, particularly as people are better educated and more receptive to adaptation. Ian cites the example of energy derived from food and yard waste which is huge in Germany but only beginning in the US.

Ian reviews energy efficiency and describes it as the cheapest form of alternative energy. He notes that utilities are incresingly in the business of energy efficiency. Ian also adds that many jobs have been added directly related to increased energy efficiency measures.

The good news is that every single state now has some form of energy efficiency program, which is a far cry from where we were just a mere 15 years ago.

The heterogeneous energy mix in the US breeds competition and efficiency. There is a lot of ground for optimism particularly at the state level and municipal level. In Bowles' view, Renewable energy and energy efficiency will keep growing and keep providing jobs across America.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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