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Avoiding the Clean Tech Crash:
Can Renewable Energy Achieve Subsidy Independence?

Federal clean tech funding is poised to decline 75 percent by 2014 compared to 2009, according to a recent report from a diverse group of think tanks titled "Beyond Boom and Bust: Putting Clean Tech on a Path to Subsidy Independence". The coming expiration of many policies and subsidies has raised concerns that the clean tech sector, and the pace of energy innovation in the U.S., may experience a collapse, much as it has in past years when funding similarly dried up.

Can clean tech survive without subsidies? How can support for renewable energy and technology innovation be structured in such a way to avoid these boom-and-bust cycles? Join The Energy Collective and a panel of the report's authors and industry leaders to discuss the future of the cleantech space and how policy can accelerate innnovation and reward cost declines in renewable energy.

Listen to the archive as we ask:

  • How severely will the end of subidies affect the growth of clean energy technology?
  • Which will feel the most impact among the wind, solar, nuclear, biofuel, and electric vehicle sectors?
  • Can the industry sustain itself without funding support from the government?
  • Do more sustainable policy solutions exist?


ImageLetha Tawney is a Senior Associate in the World Resources Institute’s Climate and Energy Program, leading the Two Degrees of Innovation platform. Letha’s work focuses on the need to build a robust, dynamic innovation system for clean energy where great ideas can rapidly emerge and spread globally. Prior to joining WRI, Letha worked on bioenergy with the UN Foundation’s International Bioenergy Initiative. She has also done research on adaptation to climate change with Harvard University and has advised relief and development agencies on planning for climate change impacts in their work.

ImageJoseph Desmond is Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications for BrightSource Energy. Desmond has also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer at Ice Energy, Inc. and Senior Vice President of External Affairs at NorthernStar Natural Gas. He held numerous executive roles under California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, including Deputy Secretary of Energy for the State Resources Agency, Chairman of the California Energy Commission and Undersecretary for Energy Affairs.

ImageAlex Trembath is a Policy Associate in the Energy and Climate Program at the Breakthrough Institute.  He has worked in the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Climate Protection Initiatives, and on political campaigns including Gavin Newsom's gubernatorial run in 2009. Trembath's research has been published by the Breakthrough Institute, Americans for Energy Leadership, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Forbes, and the Huffington Post. Trembath is a graduate of UC at Berkeley, where he received his Bachelor's in Environmental Economics and Policy.

Marc Gunther is a veteran journalist, speaker, writer and consultant whose focus is business and sustainability. Marc is a contributing editor at FORTUNE magazine, a senior writer at Greenbiz.com, and a lead blogger at The Energy Collective. He's also a husband and father, a lover of the outdoors and a marathon runner. Marc is the author or co-author of four books, including Faith and Fortune: How Compassionate Capitalism is Transforming American Business. He's a graduate of Yale who lives in Bethesda, MD.