(3BL Media/Justmeans) - One of the main drawbacks of solar power generation is that it can be too expensive for people to afford, as in this type of energy the current cost of the raw materials needed to manufacture photovoltaic cells is pricey.
INSIGHT & ANALYSIS
Renewable Energy Gets Sustainable Financing
Like many other startup industries, renewable energy receives subsidies to help jumpstart an entirely new business sector. It has initially followed the example of the oil and gas industry, which has received over $470 billion in tax credits since early in the 20th century. Those “depletion tax credits” continue today, amounting to almost $5 billion annually. By contrast, the current, early-stage renewable industry receives about one-half that amount. But even those half-size subsidies have been uncertain and are often under political attack. Now, the renewable energy sector is moving toward financial models as innovative as the technology itself. New investment ideas, such as master limited partnerships and securitizing solar assets are driving down costs while amping up revenue, attracting even more investment. For the details, see RP Siegel’s article. Never has the future of a sustainable, renewably powered energy future seemed so now.
John Howell, Editorial Director
News & Blogs
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Microsoft Corp. has entered into a three-year agreement with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to research and develop sustainable technologies. The goal is to make Microsoft’s data centers more energy efficient and economically viable. The company has also made a gift of $1 million to UTSA to support the university’s R&D programs.
(3BL Media/Just Means) - REI, the outdoor retailer, has announced a commitment to sourcing all of its electricity from renewable sources. The company already has 26 solar electric systems generating clean power and a program designed to invest in energy efficiency. Now, REI is buying certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) as part of its strategy to green the energy that powers more than 130 stores, two distribution centers and its headquarters.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Efforts to address the increasingly pressing climate challenge with rational policy continue to languish in Washington, as willfully ignorant conservatives continue to choose donor loyalty over science. But based on the surprisingly robust growth of renewable energy, you almost wouldn’t know it. It seems to be the case that if the government won't make us do it, we're just going to have go ahead and do it anyway. Indeed it seems as if we've done a far better job than anyone expected.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The Ethisphere Institute has come out with its annual list of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies.” The list includes 144 winners, with companies ranging from Ford Motor, Kellogg and Microsoft in the U.S. to IHCC, a Saudi hospital construction company, All Good Organics, a food company in New Zealand, and PKN Orlen, a Polish oil refining company.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Not-for-profit organisations around the world all are hindered at time by the same obstacles, which is often the access to professional services and/or restricted budgets, where money is often too tight to spend it on legal and financial support, or on marketing and communications. This means that not-for-profits are not able to fully exploit their potential, or at times achieve the aims they have set.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Sustainable products such as organic foods and specialty apparel typically lack economies of scale, which means companies are compelled to position them in the premium segment for upper-income consumers. The use of organic farming, energy-efficient technologies and fair trade sourcing usually puts a premium price on these products.