10 Predictions for Cleantech and Sustainability in 2012

Escribe Michael Kanellos en Greenbiz.com, recogido en el Boletín Electrónico de CEDE–Was 2011 good or bad for sustainability and green technology?

Michael Kanellos, green business expertFirst, the bad news. Three solar manufacturers trying to push the technological edge — Solyndra, SpectraWatt and Evergreen Solar — all went down in messy, public spectacles. Governments around the world, terrified about deficits, began to pull back on programs designed to promote renewable energy and sustainability. Electric cars like the FIsker Karma, Mitsubishi I and the sedan from Coda Automotive were delayed. The UN Talks in Durban, South Africa ended where they always do: with agreements to meet again.

Meanwhile, natural gas seemed to gain a reputation as the miracle fuel of the future. It’s cheap! it’s efficient! It’s in your backyard!

But then there is the bright side. Environmental organizations won a battle to delay the Keystone XL pipeline: the fight isn’t over, but this first round demonstrated that the environment remains a rallying cry for a large bloc of committed voters. Poll after poll shows that the public general supports renewable power and wants to reduce fossil fuels.

And guess what? Skeptics of hydraulic fracking have become more vociferous. If you had to put numbers on it, you could say renewables one, 52 to 48.

2012 will be another tight year. Here are ten trends and companies to watch:

1. Renewables Will Start to Win Over the Jobs Argument. The 2012 Presidential election will be only about one thing: jobs. In the energy and sustainability context, the debate boils down to whether you think more jobs can be created through by pipelines and offshore drilling or through erecting solar farms and retrofitting buildings. In the end, it’s more of an emotional argument than a logical one: people tend to choose their side first and then build their argument around it.

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