One of the worst consequences of America’s long Presidential election is that the issue of Clean and Renewable Energy Technologies became terribly politicized. An area where America’s two largest political parties should have naturally found common ground to work together, instead became frightfully polarizing owing to a combination of mutual vote-bank politics and bungling. Regardless of who wins next week’s contest, public policy initiatives in cleantech will suffer in the short and medium term from these debacles.
To make matters worse, a wave of high profile failures particularly in the solar and battery technology sector are contributing towards a bearish market sentiment to domestic cleantech investing.
However global trends emphatically indicate an increasing desire particularly in the developing world to move away from hydrocarbon dependence, leaving the door open for American companies with their strong advantage in high-tech R&D to capitalize despite domestic sluggishness.
India is already becoming a hub for cleantech innovation with both extensive economic linkages to both the United States and emerging markets in Asia. Despite its sometimes glacial bureaucracy, India is coming out all barrels firing on massive development of solar grids, deployment of electric vehicles, and sweeping away its archaic power infrastructure.
Last month India’s government approved a $4B plan to spur both electric vehicle production over the next seven years with a target of putting over six million all electric vehicles on the road. This is in concert with over 3 gigawatts of solar power expected to be installed in India over the next four years. Much of this is expected to come from American companies such as First Solar.
Simply put, all American solar and renewable energy companies, NEED an India strategy. Moreover the American legislature needs to be supportive of companies doing business in India. In this current economic environment the jobs and export income from healthy cross border trade is too precious to be sacrificed for political expediency.