With other nations aggressively forging ahead in clean tech—including renewable energy, smart grid, electric vehicles, and green buildings—how can the United States position itself for success?
On its current path, the United States risks losing out on the most critical opportunity for job creation and global economic leadership in the 21st century. China is spending hundreds of billions on clean tech and is now the world leader in solar-panel and wind-turbine manufacturing. Germany plans to shutter all its nuclear power plants within a decade and build a new energy economy focused on renewables and efficiency. Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, India, and many others are also enthusiastically pursuing these burgeoning possibilities. If the U.S. is to remain dominant, as it has in the earlier high-tech and Internet revolutions, it needs to supercharge efforts at every level—in federal, state, and city governments, and in schools, small businesses, and large companies.
Industry experts Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder combine insightful analysis with lively storytelling to assess current clean-tech leaders worldwide, while highlighting front-running U.S. cities and states. Offering a Seven-Point Action Plan for Repowering America—with such controversial steps as ending all energy subsidies within ten years, launching a national smart infrastructure bank, and creating a new breed of clean-tech investment tools modeled on the oil and gas industries—Clean Tech Nation sounds a compelling and achievable call to action.
In this follow-up to their 2007 book, The Clean Tech Revolution, clean energy experts Pernick and Wilder are clearly glass half-full kind of guys, and readers inclined to optimism about the future will find much encouraging material. However, Pernick and Wilder offer precious little to convert pessimists, whether about the merits of the numerous proposals to use energy more cleanly and efficiently, or the ability of the federal government to get meaningful things done. Mixing anecdotes, facts, and charts with trenchant analysis, the authors point out, for example, how energy independence for the U.S., both as a national security issue and an economic one, should be supported, even by skeptics. Many fascinating innovations are underway, including the development of smart electrical grids, which by providing consumers detailed analytics about their electrical consumption, enable households to save 1.5%-3.5% per month (a modest number until the impact of applying such technology nationwide is projected at total savings of $5 billion per year). As fascinating as this survey of the current state of play is, the authors don't quite end up justifying the book's subtitle; to the contrary, they cite a Thomas Friedmanesque flat world to suggest that clean technology breakthroughs will "bloom in a thousand places," rather than depending on one dominant superpower. Agent: Riverside Creative Management. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.