Take a minute and imagine a city powered by 100% renewable energy. Not only does this city run on renewable energy, but it was also one of the first in the United States to do so. What does is it look like? What type of people are walking around? How do you imagine the politics of the local city council? Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute.
Did you picture a progressive University town like Berkeley, California? Or perhaps a wealthy liberal community like Los Angeles? Or did you picture a deeply conservative city in the heart of Texas? A city that made it fortune in oil and gas? I’m guessing not. Georgetown, Texas wears its conservative values on its sleeve, sporting NRA bumper stickers and Trump hats throughout town, yet this is the town in question. When asked about this seeming paradox in an interview with NPR mayor of Georgetown, Dale Ross, responds that “it was a business decision”.
And there it is in a nutshell. Gone are the days when renewable power was a choice of ethics over profit. The cost of solar panels continues to plummet while their efficiency continues to rise. Steady progress in battery technology is allowing engineers to reimagine the design of the world’s energy grids. Wind power is now being harnessed in the open ocean in addition to traditional windswept landscapes. Discarded plastics are being turned into renewable diesel.
Not only have the cost of renewables fallen sharply but economists recognize them for their superior market stability compared to fossil fuels. Oil wars, global instability and international organizations such as OPEC, have long sent shock waves though fossil fuel markets, creating continual price and supply instability. On the other hand, decades of climate data make it easy to predict the supply of wind and solar power for a given area, creating solid market certainty.
Suffice it to say that investment in green tech no longer constitutes a tradeoff between a sustainable future and profit. Even if all you care about is your bottom line, the promise of green tech includes a sound investment. But don’t take my word for it. Just go ask the citizens of Georgetown, Texas.