It hasn’t been long since President Barack Obama extended the government renewable energy target three-fold. From a political point of view, the increase can be dubbed as a smart move, but does the enterprise culture within the U.S. share this enthusiasm?
Due to the lobbyist and profit driven nature of certain industries, it is hard to say. The better question is: despite considerable efforts from the government, why isn’t the green revolution picking up its pace?
At one end, we have states and enterprises taking up green initiatives and increasing their social acceptance. However, there are fiscal and policy disparities. According to a recently compiled report on the green market activity, the investment in clean energy in 2012 was $44.2 billion. However, it was $65.4 billion in 2011, indicating a downward trend.
This could mean that enterprises will lower their guard until the economy shows more lasting signs of recovery. To simplify the policy disparity, let’s look at North Carolina as an example.
North Carolina ranks among the greenest states in the U.S. and is comparable with California in this regard. It has taken on good collaborative initiatives with enterprises to ensure green compliance.
An example of this is the solar power and biogas fuel generating facility being used by Apple as its data center in California. This makes the venture among the largest non-utility green energy projects in the country.
However, countering this is the fact the corporate infrastructure within California is deterred by vendor ‘lock-in’ and proprietary networks. This makes expansion for clean energy growth within the state costly and prohibitive.
To compound the issue, wrong notions are being spread by enterprises, enhancing the policy gap. An example of such disinformation is that the U.S. national grid is not updated enough to implement green energy on a large scale. Assumptions like this need to be debunked through policy initiatives because the functionality gap creates a market in which enterprises are still not ready to move towards no waste/emission policies.
On the investment front, certain initiatives are projecting green feasibility. According to Solar World, commercial solar power solutions could help enterprises in North Carolina save $6,855 a year in energy costs.
Another commendable case is that of Eco-Profiles.org run by Mitch Hedlund. It provides a good standard as a green business and also provides integrative services for other companies to improve their green practice compliance.
A viable policy initiative that can be taken by enterprises and the state would involve targeting U.S. public lands. This is because fossil fuel extraction from public lands leads to a 4.5 times increase in carbon emissions.
With help from the U.S geological survey (USGS), the government can generate a better carbon reduction plan. The USGS can increase compliance using land management agencies and create a federally approved baseline.
The benefit of such an approach would be that regulatory authorities such as EPA would be able to account for the total cost of Co2 pollution. These could lead to more accurate royalty rates for extraction of coal, oil and gas from public lands.
The notion of energy optimization and enterprise compliance is inherently dependent on how far reaching policies are. Policies without loopholes mean better compliance within enterprises.