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Hemant Taneja's “Energy is not a zero-sum game anymore”: The End of the ‘Clean vs. Dirty’ Debate and the Rise of Advanced Energy Technologies

The rapid progress of advanced energy technologies and energy efficiency in the “conventional” areas of oil and gas as well as in the “clean” sources of wind, solar, and geothermal energy is allowing countries to do more from less energy. However, the polarizing debate still exists between the “clean vs. dirty” energy sources to validate our increased capabilities with less energy. The truth of the matter is that energy is no-longer a zero-sum game. As Hemant Taneja, managing director at General Catalyst and co-founder of Advanced Energy Economy, states in his VentureBeat article, It’s time to bury the ‘clean vs. dirty’ debate in energy,

Advancements in technology in all types of energy are leading to cleaner solutions, making the ‘clean vs. dirty’ energy debate irrelevant to the opportunity that lies ahead. By focusing on making all forms of energy affordable, secure and clean, this technological revolution is succeeding because it provides an economic imperative that ‘clean’ alone could never accomplish. Clean lacked the power of the invisible hand to align the incentives of the individual energy consumer with that of society’s energy needs. Advanced energy is different because it couples two important things: the ability to prosper and increase economic competitiveness while simultaneously improving the health and wellness of the United States."

Advanced energy and energy efficiency technologies in the United States present a robust, growth industry. The U.S. advanced energy market totaled $132 billion in 2011 and is estimated to reach $157 billion in 2012, representing an increase in the U.S. share of the global market from 12 to 15 percent. Additionally, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower projects accounted for 46.2 percent of new electric generating capacity for the first ten months of 2012. All of this has occurred while the suppliers of oil and natural gas have enjoyed increased revenue and strong profits.

By ending the polarizing debate on the ‘clean vs. dirty’ energy sources and focusing on an advanced energy future, we can further invest in technologies that drive down the cost of using domestic energy sources and make them healthier for consumption.

For more details about the increased need to end the ‘clean vs. dirty’ energy debate, please read Hemant Taneja’s article, It’s time to bury the ‘clean vs. dirty’ debate in energy.

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Sahir Surmeli

Member / Co-chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

Sahir Surmeli is a Mintz business counselor who advises companies, boards, entrepreneurs, investment banks, and venture and private equity investors as they build and grow companies. He handles public offerings, 144A and private financings, acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships.