Tough Love for Renewable Energy

By Jeffrey Ball
Foreign Affairs
May2012 Vol. 91 Issue 3 Pages 122.

The article focuses on the need for reforms in the U.S. renewable power industry. It states that recessions in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the significant drop in U.S. natural gas prices have diminished enthusiasm by governments toward renewable power. It describes the bankruptcy of solar-panel maker Solyndra after it had received loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy as an example of why the U.S. has to improve the efficiency of its subsidies. It comments on the lack of entrenched infrastructure for wind and solar power which increases costs for these technologies and suggests global competition, including subsidized wind turbine manufacturing in China, as an incentive to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the renewable energy industries.