Obama's climate promises - so much hot air
"Funding has stalled," says Ezra Green, chief executive of Clear Skies Solar. The New York company recently cancelled plans to build a one-megawatt solar plant in California's Mojave Desert, unable to get financing even though a California utility agreed to buy all the output.
"We've cancelled the solar-panel order," Mr Green says.
Hobbled by the financial crisis, power companies across the US are slashing capital budgets and cancelling projects for clean electricity. Financing for new nuclear power plants appears shaky. And some energy companies are even having trouble satisfying their short-term needs for cash.
Forging a new energy future by creating vast amounts of wind, solar and, possibly, nuclear energy is one of Mr Obama's highest priorities. But enacting that policy depends to a large degree on the ability of energy companies and utilities to finance the massive new investments that would be needed. With many of those companies cutting spending, a lot of those investments are being pared back or eliminated.
Many utility-sector executives and analysts now expect Congress to water down any climate-change legislation out of fear that it would push up electricity prices for consumers.
Strange, because aren't we always hearing that the transition to a green economy would be utterly painless and wouldn't cost a cent?
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