It's understandable that some people have treated the midterm election results as an all or nothing proposition for stakeholders in clean technology. After coming so close on a couple of occassions to a national energy policy, it is disappointing that the policitcal winds have shifted from any meaningful high-level compromise on climate change initiatives and renewable energy at the federal level.
But just as it was a mistake to assume that cleantech-friendly majorities in the House and Senate, plus President Obama would lead to an automatic overhaul of policy, it would be folly to assume that a divided Congress will kill any federal support for the market.
Case in point? There were three major examples from federal agencies this past week that show there are other ways for the President Obama-led federal government to stimulate the Green economy and battle climate change. They are:
The United States Patent & Trademark Office announced an extension of the Fast Track program for Green patents. Skyline Solar, one of Schwartz's clients, has been a direct beneficiary of this policy as the company looks to guarantee the integrity of its intellectual property to company and market stakeholders. This is an important program for companies looking for new rounds of investment or just starting out in a hyper-competitive cleantech market.
The second announcement came from the EPA regarding further guidance on its "Tailoring Rule" for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) at state and local levels. This guidance stems from the historic EPA ruling that climate change is a threat to human health and therefore can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. This rule, albeit with some challenges to overcome, provides a one-two punch along with California AB 32, in helping the federal government and states exert their authority over carbon and other GHG emissions.
The final example comes from the DOE which, according to a story this weekend in the San Jose Mercury News by Dana Hull, continues to pump millions of dollars into the Cleantech industry. Schwartz client Soladigm, a manufacturer of electrochromatic windows for improving energy efficiency in buildings, was the recipient of more than $3 million.
All of these examples point to a power struggle in the years ahead between Federal agencies and the branch of Government that controls budgetary purse strings (i.e. the House). It will be interesting to see how things develop, but rest assured the new Congressional make up is not a all or nothing proposition and "Drill, Baby Drill," will not be not be the new energy policy in Washington.
Tags: ab+32, cleantech+government+relations, DOE+grants, epa+tailoring+rule, green, green+patents, uspto
Posted by Jason Morris on November 11, 2010 at 2:01 PM
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