Cap-and-Trade May Be Wounded, But The Low Carbon Economy is Still Healthy

Opinion

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than most to take advantage of the “greening” global economy to drive new investment and statewide job growth. Building a foundation to secure those economic opportunities requires a holistic view and a comprehensive state energy strategy. We need to work together to resolve complex market issues and often conflicting values and demands on our future public and private energy systems.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided a significant boost, rewarding Washington with $2.6 billion from the Department of Energy for more than 170 projects in energy efficiency, renewable energy, electric grid, transportation, science and innovation, and another $211 million for broadband and more than $20 million for green jobs training.

The State Energy Summit provides a valuable forum for leadership collaboration on how we move forward. We’ll review the $2.6 billion in Recovery Act investments that have been made and continue to flow into the state and begin to map out where we go from here.

What’s needed to attract private capital and drive additional investment and entrepreneurship? How do our shared goals on protecting and preserving the environment align with the need to streamline and improve regulatory processes for new clean energy businesses? What are the incentives that will drive development of renewable energy generation capacity without losing our competitive advantage on energy pricing? Where are the prime international markets for Washington companies to export clean energy technology, products and services.

The Clean Energy Leadership Council is addressing these and more key questions, preparing a set of recommendations that link our economic development imperatives with a comprehensive energy strategy from the State Energy Strategy Advisory Committee.

Opportunities to prosper in the global low carbon economy are here. Our ability to forge partnerships—academics, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, governments and public policy makers—to deliver substantial investment and rapid innovation will be key to growing businesses and jobs in Washington state’s clean energy future.

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Rogers Weed is the Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce and also co-chairs the Clean Energy Leadership Council and State Energy Strategy initiative. Follow @

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