Supporters of clean energy and clean technologies everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief as President Obama is being projected to win four more years in the White House. I know I am — if Mitt Romney had won, the next four years would be even more bleak than they already are for entrepreneurs, scientists and investors working on developing next-generation clean energy and clean technologies.
As the Chronicle’s David Baker put it this weekend: cleantech’s future hinged on this election. Cleantech has become so politicized — despite that red states are growing more green jobs faster than blue states — that Tesla, Fisker, and of course Solyndra, creeped into almost all of the Presidential debates this election season.
Obama put an unprecedented billions into clean energy through the stimulus package, which has led to the development of solar and wind farms, and the incubation of new energy technologies through the ARPA-E program. Of course, not all the funds were spent well, and funding for now bankrupt Solyndra is now infamous.
Romney, on the other hand, used Obama’s green stimulus funds as an example of misspending, waste and cronyism and actively wanted to cut funding for things like a wind farm tax credit. In his election speeches he’s joked about global warming and the sea levels rising, and made statements about loving coal.
I’ve already gotten numerous press releases from companies and clean energy advocate groups hailing Obama’s victory as a major win for the industry. On Twitter the clean energy sector is also displaying its relief.
But it’s beyond just a victory — it’s a chance of survival for next-gen energy innovators and startups, which have had an extremely difficult past 18 months. Many of them will now at least continue to have an opportunity to compete on their merits. I said this during a talk at the NREL Forum last month, but I think cleantech will soon start turning a corner. With this news, it just has — the chief who clearly supports the development of these technologies, will be returning. Now we just need to get him talking about climate change, again.