State Clean Energy Funds Provide Economic Development Punch
January 10, 2012
co-authored with Lew Milford* Washington is again paralyzed and pulling back on clean energy economic development. Deficit politics and partisanship are firmly entrenched and the raft of federal financial supports made available through the 2009 stimulus law and elsewhere is starting to expire. No wonder it’s hard to imagine—especially if you’re sitting in the nation’s capital--how the next phase of American clean energy industry growth will be financed or its next generation of technologies and firms supported. And yet, one source of action lies hidden in plain sight. With federal clean ene
Rep. Markey: Why Is America Rushing to Export Natural Gas?
January 05, 2012
Last month I said I thought it would be premature for the Department of Energy (DOE) to rush into authorizing massive exports of natural gas, notwithstanding the amazing recent boom in American shale gas production. My worry was that precipitous large-scale exports could tighten U.S. supplies and raise prices, with negative ramifications for domestic industrial concerns that depend on cheap gas. My thought: Wouldn’t it be preferable to re-shore good-paying manufacturing jobs rather than serve as a resource colony for the rest of the world? Seems we should be prudent here! Now, Rep.
ARPA-E and New Energy Hubs Escape Budget Battle
December 19, 2011
Notwithstanding the bleak outlook surrounding federal clean energy policy detailed in our recent report “Sizing the Clean Economy,” the FY 2012 omnibus spending compromise hammered out last week actually contains several reassuring affirmations of the value of recent institutional experiments. One winner is the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, perhaps the Department of Energy’s most popular program. Although the program is funded at just $275 million--about half the level President Obama had requested--many will probably be relieved that the program has now survived, which hasn’t alwa
High-Tech Industries Boost the Mountain West’s Recovery
December 16, 2011
High technology and advanced manufacturing centers are recovering strongly from the recession, reports Brookings’ latest quarterly Metro Monitor regional economic tracker, and the landscape of the Intermountain West reflects the trend perfectly. There, Brookings Mountain West’s Mountain Monitor--a regional companion to the national readout produced in partnership with the University of Nevada at Las Vegas--reports that Utah’s three major metropolitan areas and Phoenix, Ariz.
Natural Gas: Reconsidering Exports
December 14, 2011
Last week I argued here that it would be premature for the Department of Energy to authorize massive exports of natural gas, notwithstanding the astonishing recent boom in American shale gas production. I worried that precipitous large-scale exports could tighten U.S. supplies and raise prices, with negative ramifications for U.S. industrial concerns that depend on cheap gas. For that reason I argued that gas should be exported not in its raw form but only as a low-cost input to higher-value production and job creation by American companies.
Energy Strong: How DoD Leads on Clean Energy Innovation and Deployment
December 14, 2011
As we said this past summer in our “Sizing the Clean Economy” report, the U.S. energy system won’t be cleaned up without a combination of aggressive innovation to develop new technologies and widespread deployment of existing ones. The trouble is, bold action at the federal level appears imminent on neither of these issues. Fortunately, though, the U.S.
Nevada Aims to Engage Globally to Grow Locally
December 07, 2011
Since the recession global engagement--especially in the form of exports and foreign direct investment (FDI)--has been a needed antidote to sluggish domestic growth in numerous U.S. regions. The reason is clear: More than ever, as our work keeps stressing, nations and regions prosper by linking up with often faster-growing global markets. Interacting with other nations can offer all at once markets for exporting American-made products, capital for new and established companies, participation in global supply chains, and people with skills. One U.S.
Export Natural Gas? Not So Fast
December 06, 2011
The astonishing boom in American shale gas production continues to change everything--perceptions of fuel abundance and scarcity, projections of the U.S.
Colorado Doubles Down on ‘Bottom Up’
November 22, 2011
Earlier this week we highlighted Colorado’s interesting “Colorado Blueprint” experiment in “bottom up” economic development planning. And last week we noted the initiative in our economic agenda for the state of Nevada. Now it turns out there are intriguing new developments. Just three months after unveiling a statewide economic strategy built out of local brainstorming, Gov. Hickenlooper released a new version of the plan that speeds up timelines, and adds more specific measurable outcomes to the plan’s 24 job creation strategies.
‘Bottom Up’ Economic Development Gains Traction
November 21, 2011
States across the nation are increasingly recognizing the crucial role that regions and metropolitan areas play in their economies. Just last week, Nevada leaders nodded their heads a lot during the release of a big report there about how states should “aid and abet” regional efforts to develop smart sector and cluster strategies to boost growth. Moreover, in just the last year no less than three states--Colorado, New York, and Tennessee--have each launched well-considered and ambitious “bottom-up” economic development strategies that aim to place regions at the center of their economic develo