Grant Thornton, known more for accounting and taxation rather than environmental lobbying, recently came out with a report illustrating cleantech as an emerging industry in the globalized 21st century.
“If you are leading a cleantech business today, you may well be in the right place at the right time,” said the report.
The 24-page report looked at three major themes, which included: government policy towards clean tech’s long-term goals of sustainable energy, the differences between government policy and implementation of policy, and how commercial leaders can be more aware of government policy and subsidies without relying consistently on government funding for the health of the industry.
Examples that highlighted each of these themes were Germany’s well-known promotion of long-term sustainable energy through subsidies and feed-in tariff’s, while recent financial constraints in Germany have also slowed some growth in the solar sector, the report said. Dow Chemical’s POWERHOUSE Photovoltaic solar shingles, which are expected to bring in US$1 billion in revenue by 2015, were one of the highlights in the report, which emphasized businesses understanding the regulatory environment without constant government subsidies.
While the report focused on the three major themes above, one aspect that was key throughout the analysis was the emphasis that cleantech is a global industry not dominated by a single country. With the report mentioning global Initial Public Offerings (IPO) reaching US$1.1 billion in clean technology between 2009-2010, the United States, while important, is not calling the complete shots in this very young and promising sector. “Cleantech is not developing according to a US centric paradigm,” said the report.
Some of the countries include: Israel, which has invested US$300 million in clean tech since 2009 in oil-reducing technologies such as solar heating and electric vehicles; India, which is looking to reach grid parity between solar energy and fossil fuel energy by 2022 and cost parity by 2032; and China, whose goal by 2015 is to have around 11.4% of its energy mix come from non-fossil fuels.
The overall report from Grant Thornton on cleantech’s exceptional potential as a truly 21st-century globalized industry comes after concerning news by the International Energy Association that countries will have to get their energy act together in five years or risk serious dramatic climate effects on the planet.
Wind turbines photo modified from image by nualabugeye on flickr