Not so long ago the green energy movement celebrated because President Obama used words like ‘renewable energy’ and ‘climate change’ in his inaugural speech. It wasa first for a US president.
Now comes the downside of being a political darling.
Opponents of green energy – or rather opponents of its proponents – are using the collapse of California solar manufacturer Solyndra as weaponry. As Scott Sklar of The Stella Group said in his recent blog, “With politicians throwing brickbats at each other, the green industries are right in the middle dodging these projectiles.”
Sure, Solyndra doesn’t embody the state of the green energy industry – it’s just one company. But the average person rushing to work hears only the thud of the brickbats… something about solar and financial collapse, scandal, expensive green energy and wasteful government spending. They are left with the impression that something is amiss with the world of green energy.
How will this affect the energy efficiency industry?
Energy insiders are quick to point out that in the scope of energy failings, the Solyndra collapse is small. And, of course, solar and energy efficiency are two different industries, even if both are ‘green.’ But those are fine points that most people miss, as they pick up only the background noise about the Solyndra collapse.
That’s the bad news for energy efficiency; the good news is that the industry has been getting a tremendous amount of positive press lately, and it may counter the Solyndra effect. Those reports leave the busy person rushing to work hearing something about energy efficiency jumpstarting a national market, creating jobs, and lowering electric bills. Consider some of this week’s news.
We will soon know whether Solyndra has any lasting influence on public perception or is a news cycle blip. If 10 percent of the population holds an unshakeable belief, a tipping point occurs, and the “idea spreads like flame,” according to a study by scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute reported by Intelligent Utility. The green energy industry has worked hard in recent years to capture public sentiment. Has it achieved the tipping point? Solyndra will be a test.