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Trading green for more green
The economic viability of alternative energy looks more promising than ever. According to a new report by Clean Edge—a research and consulting firm specializing in clean technology—annual revenues for solar, wind, biofuels, and fuel cell technology increased by 39 percent in 2006. The industry value of these four markets totaled $55.4 billion in 2006, with industry growth expected to quadruple in the next ten years.
High oil prices coupled with the emerging success of the alternative energy sector also spurred record levels of venture capital investment in clean technologies, totaling $2.4 billion last year.
As new project funding becomes easier to secure, wind and solar producers continue to improve cost effectiveness by taking advantage of economies of scale. According to the New York Times, wind power companies can reduce their average cost per megawatt by building bigger turbines. Solar companies are also looking into innovative methods of streamlining installation procedures to reduce costs.
The United States should take note of the increasing availability of low-cost clean technologies and increasing levels of alternative energy investment and revenue. With these encouraging trends, there is little economic justification to adhere to outdated energy policies that support environmentally destructive patterns.