"It will be the policy of my administration," President Obama said in April 2009 as he unveiled his new administration's energy policy, "to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs."
Among the "New Energy for America" plan's provisions were calls to have a clean energy future that would create 5 million new jobs in 10 years, for 10 percent of U.S. electricity to come from renewable energy by this year, for a cap-and- trade program on greenhouse gas emissions and to put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015.
Nearly three years later, after solar-panel maker Solyndra went bankrupt without paying back half a billion dollars in federal loans, after Congress failed to pass a cap-and-trade bill and with gasoline prices rising to more than $4 a gallon, many people wonder: What happened to Mr. Obama's energy policy?
This presidential election year, the seeming lack of progress on Mr. Obama's energy policy has become political fodder for the opposition. "Obama's Failure at the Pump," a recent email from the Republican National Committee screeched: "After promising to solve the energy crisis 'once and for all,' the change Obama gave us was no energy policy for four years."
Despite such election-year rhetoric about the seeming lack of progress on Mr. Obama's energy policy, many things are occurring to show some progress in the area of clean energy, which can provide some intriguing opportunities for Hispanic entrepreneurs.
In this issue's "Green Is Gold" article, George Munoz, principal and CEO of Munoz Investment Banking Group LLC in Arlington, Va., noted that the Southwestern states, where a large number of Hispanics live, are areas ripe for capturing wind and solar energy. In the same article, John J. Chavez, president of the New Mexico Angels and managing director of the Phase One Venture startup fund in Santa Fe, N.M., noted several investment opportunities in clean-tech and green-energy fields that his firm is considering.
In this issue's "The Blinding Sun" article, Odes Armijo-Caster, cooperator of Sacred Power Corp., a solar company in Albuquerque, N.M., notes that the company has been growing at 20 to 30 percent per year and expects a similar growth rate this year. In that same article, Gonzalo de la Melena, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, noted that "Arizona is quickly becoming a center for solar- based technology" and the booming Hispanic population in the state "means Hispanic entrepreneurs are poised to become future leaders in the field."
Though the 1603 Program -- a provision of the Recovery Act -- that partially reimbursed the cost of installing energy property ended in December, Mr. Obama has included it in his 2013 bud get. With investors finding clean energy a ripe area of opportunity and a growing number of people wanting to be part of the clean energy movement, this could be a good time for savvy Hispanic entrepreneurs to get into the field.
Under the Radar
Wind and solar energy have been the stars of the clean energy effort for years. Greentech Media Research said that solar energy installations in 2010 added to the economy $6 billion in direct value. According to the American Wind Energy Association website, "the U.S. wind industry has added more than 35 percent of all new generating capacity over the past four years .... Today, U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20 percent of the world's installed wind power."
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