In November 2009, the Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar decided to relocate their solar panel assembly section to Wuhan, China. More recently in April 2010, the firm made public its decision to expand its European sales division to take advantage of the profitable investment policies offered by the European countries. Some may call it paranoia, but such activities by a notable U.S. clean energy business must be viewed with a sense of foreboding. It may well indicate the shape of things to come.
The clean energy sector is one area that has recorded impressive growth in spite of recession. It promises to open up employment and investment opportunities on a massive scale. Taking advantage of this sector’s potential is not a matter of choice anymore; it is more a matter of survival. Investments in this sector are believed to stabilize the still-fragile American economy and sound the death knell of outsourcing.
The accusation that the United States is losing its ‘green touch’ is particularly alarming in the current scenario. The emergence of China and Europe as possible clean energy leaders is a definite cause for worry. Taking a backseat to these countries will cost the U.S. dearly, especially when the sector promises so much employment and investment opportunities. In the worst-case scenario, the U.S. will lose an extremely skilled workforce to countries who are clever enough to reap hay while the sun shines. Domestic clean energy companies too will be attracted by the robust incentive programs offered by foreign governments.
According to Phyllis Cuttino (Director, Pew Environment Group’s Global Warming Campaign), “countries are jockeying for leadership” in this sector. “They know that investing in clean energy can renew manufacturing bases, and create export opportunities, jobs and businesses.”
It is quite clear that rather than any passionate commitment to the planet, market competition and job creation are the major driving forces behind the green energy race. It is high time the federal government took drastic measures to set in place new green policies and investment initiatives. After all, this is one race the United States cannot afford to lose.