Tech & The District » wind power Tech the way we see it: insights and musings on technology PR, policy and the District, from H&K’s D.C. Tech Team. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 en hourly 1 A Federal Wager in Clean Tech Wed, 24 Mar 2010 16:05:08 +0000 Andrew Cuneo While the rest of the economy attempts to find its footing, there is an industry that continues to take big steps – clean energy development.


CleanEdge, a research firm which specializes in clean technology, released its annual Clean Energy Trends report last week and found that amidst the chaos of the current recession, 2009 proved to be a very successful year in the clean technology and energy production. Recent numbers from the report reveal three spaces – solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power, and biofuels – which successfully jumped a combined 11.4 percent in revenue from 2008 numbers. This will certainly grow.  In fact, CleanEdge predicts that by 2019, the clean energy production industry will be a $325.9 billion business.


Climate change has been at or near the top of Washington’s agenda over the last year. And the expectation is that this will remain a priority in the months ahead. That said, steps are already being taken that can lead us down a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly path.


President Barack Obama has issued the challenge to the federal government to reduce carbon emissions by 28 percent by 2020. A likely result of this challenge is the investment in more clean technologies aimed at reducing the nation’s environmental footprint.  Expect to see renewable energy solutions such as solar and wind power at the top, and likely more use of nuclear power, natural gas and perhaps even clean coal as well.


The Recovery Act put forth by the current administration issued $5.4 billion in funding to small companies, including 26 that reside in the clean-tech space. The Department of Energy recently released a report highlighting where, within the clean tech market, the money was distributed. A vast array of clean energy efforts, such as wind, solar and biofuels, were aided by the Act.  In addition to energy sources, critical new infrastructure like Smart Grid, advanced batteries, energy storage, energy efficiency tools and even companies working to clean our transportation industry, were also funded. 


This is an exciting time to be in the clean tech and clean energy space. We’re going to see more innovation leading to a cleaner, brighter future for the U.S. and the world. Clean technology, perhaps once considered a “nice to have” has turned into a lucrative AND essential sector for us moving forward. 


What do you see as being the next new clean technology innovation?


Hill & Knowlton works with several members of the clean technology and clean energy industries including TRIRIGA, Better Place, America’s Natural Gas Alliance and NEI.

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Nuclear, Renewable, Gas or Coal – Who Has the Energy? Thu, 09 Jul 2009 19:43:46 +0000 Andrew Cuneo It’s hard to know which basket of energy capacity we should be putting our eggs in. While the Obama Administration continues to push the cap & trade bill putting a tax on carbon emissions, the Department of Energy, made a somewhat surprising investment in the research & development of FutureGen’s clean coal project. We also have other forms out there including renewable energy, which includes hydro and wind power, natural gas and nuclear.


Consumers and businesses alike aren’t sure where to turn. Both are grappling with trying to reduce their carbon footprint. New automobile technology, such as hybrids and electric, are still utilizing coal-based power plants for electrical charge. By the same token, businesses all around the world are attempting to reduce energy usage by installing technology. Google has a great page offering tips to businesses on how to reduce energy used to power their IT infrastructure.’s Matthew Wheeland’s interview with IBM’s John Lamb also illustrates what companies can, and in some cases are, doing to effectively “green their IT.”


But what’s the real answer? The nation’s current position is not sustainable and, as Forbes blogger Rich Karlgaard points out, the U.S. currently receives 88 percent of its electricity generation from coal (48.9 percent), natural gas (20) and nuclear (19.3). Renewable energy came in at under 10 percent with seven percent in hydro alone.


What is amazing is that nearly half of all the nation’s electricity is generated by coal, which emits the most carbon of any fossil fuel. Businesses and consumers are using this generated electricity every day.


The other two listed in Karlgaard’s piece, natural gas (which burns 50 percent cleaner than coal, and, according to a piece in Dow Jones, is also considerably less expensive than oil) and nuclear (emits zero green house gases) are both domestic and environmentally friendlier.


Obama’s support for the clean coal project is admirable and my first inclination is to be excited about the emphasis the current administration is placing on these technological advances. But the likelihood of anything being ready in the near future is very slim – some are saying 15 years.  We just can’t wait that long.


What we do know now is the country is placing emphasis on both conservation of current sources, and the development of sustainable energy sources. Whether it’s the drilling for natural gas or the development of renewable and nuclear energy, all will play an increasing role in powering homes, offices, automobiles and even cities from now into the foreseeable future. 


The research surrounding clean coal is exciting and cutting edge. To be able to utilize a domestic and abundant energy source to improve the air quality is a wonderful initiative. But we need an energy solution that will bridge the gap between now and then, or we risk causing irrevocable damage to the planet.


Which energy source would you advocate if you were in Obama’s place?


*Hill & Knowlton works with CASEnergy, Better Place and America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) in some parts of the world.


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