The Entrepreneurial State by Mariana Mazzucato

The Entrepreneurial State by Mariana Mazzucato

Author:Mariana Mazzucato
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781610396141
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Published: 2015-10-07T16:00:00+00:00

United States: An ambiguous approach to green technologies

A clue to what is required to accelerate the green ‘revolution’ is found in the US, where government-funded initiatives are busy building on their understanding of what has worked in previous technological revolutions. But while the US has been good at connecting and leveraging academia, industry and entrepreneurship in its own push into clean technologies (historically with the Department of Energy and more recently with the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, or ARPA-E), its performance has been uneven. As one of the ‘first’ countries to seriously push into wind and solar power in the 1980s (and the first crystalline silicon solar cells were invented in the US in the 1950s), the US failed to sustain support and watched as Europe (Denmark, Germany and Sweden, in particular), Japan and now China take the lead. Worse, the US failed to alter its energy mix significantly, setting up its position for decades as a world-leading CO2 emitter. With world-class innovative capability, the world’s largest economy and a massive energy grid, the US is ideally positioned to kick off a clean technology revolution, yet it has not. In the context of the 2012 election season, clean energy development was again facing extreme uncertainty, and the very real possibility of losing government support at a critical juncture.9 Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, bluntly describes the current structure of the US energy industry and its lack of an energy policy as ‘stupid’, estimating that other nations already have a 10-year lead on the green economy (Glader 2010).

One hot-button issue for the wind industry was, for example, the expiration of the production tax credit. Re-extended through 2013, it will again face expiration at the end of that year. Instead of acting as a signal of long-term commitment to wind power, the frequent threat of expiration of the production tax credit has propagated boom and bust cycles of development.


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