Kate Gordon is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development. Currently she serves as Vice Chair of Climate and Sustainable Urbanization at the Paulson Institute, where she provides strategic direction on climate and energy programs in the U.S. and China. Her past affiliations include co-director of the Apollo Alliance, vice president at the Center for American Progress, and vice president at Next Generation, where she founded and led the 'Risky Business Project' alongside Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer. Gordon writes a regular subscription-based blog, Kate's Cliffnotes, providing insights on policy and politics in California, her home state. She is also a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal as one of the paper's 'Energy Experts.' Gordon earned a JD and an MA in city planning from University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.
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Just as with any other major economic transition—the Industrial Revolution, the Marshall Plan, the fall of Communism—there is a role for government policy, finance and investment in speeding the adoption the new, while easing the phase out of the old.
The tax credits, block grants, and infrastructure funds generated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, building on a foundation of strong state incentives for renewable energy and efficiency that had been developed in the years leading up to the national stimulus bill, vaulted the United States to the number one position on the Pew Charitable Trust’s ranking of global clean energy investors in 2011.
The government can and should be involved in investment for clean energy, which will play a crucial role in future prosperity and health.
There’s a reason the oil and gas industry got subsidies 100 years ago, and it’s the same reason the renewable energy industry gets them today: when a country is in the midst of transforming its energy sector, it needs to support its new and emerging companies.
No one is arguing that wind and solar should have permanent subsidies.