Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leading By Example

Slow progress on renewable energy in emerging markets has long been an impediment to advancing a global renewable energy agenda.

Recall, that one of the knee-jerk excuses for the U.S. decision to not ratify the Kyoto Protocol was that exemptions given to other industrialized countries (China) were allowing continued pollution and Kyoto would only handcuff the U.S. economically without achieving the desired effect of the treaty.

While that line of argument certainly has some merit, it also has more than its share of detractors who have bludgeoned, pilloried, stomped and spit upon, and ultimately discarded it, and the discussion need not be resurrected here. However, the point remains that establishing clean, renewable energy in emerging markets remains an important global priority.

Earlier this week, a new annual conference convened in San Francisco that seeks to prmote renewable energy to developing nations, share ideas and actually demonstrate to delegates some of the successes we have had in California.

According to David Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The Renewable Energy in Emerging Markets conference brought together representatives of 35 countries to explore delivering solar, wind, hydropower and alternative fuels to their people. The delegates met with American government officials and discussed ways to finance renewable power projects during the global recession.

On Monday, before the conference started, they toured a Solano County wind farm, an Oakland biodiesel refinery and a San Anselmo school powered by the sun, meeting local green tech entrepreneurs in the process."

While the conference is about providing the motivation and the tools that will allow smaller, less developed countries to set up their own clean energy infrastructure, it isn't too much of a stretch to see this as a business development exercise for American contractors and companies either... call it a win-win, I suppose.