Leading from the Left

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Clean Economy

The Clean Economy. With a little bold thinking, environmentally-friendly Orange County can position itself to attract cutting edge operations that are working to wean the US from petroleum and coal.

In the coming decades, one of the fastest growing segments of our economy will be the energy sector. Companies that hold the patents on new technologies that help us address global warming are going to thrive in the 21st century. The states and counties that attract and incubate these businesses are going to have successful, dynamic economies. And the good news is that these 21st century economies will be based on clean industry that makes the world a better place.

The potential is vast. New energy technology is on the threshold of becoming profitable and of expanding. As the US commitment to addressing global climate change increases and our desire for energy independence increases, the market for these technologies will expand. Companies that produce renewable energies such as wind, bio-diesel, and ethanol are already growing across the country. For example, farmers and utility companies are figuring out cost effective ways to turn animal waste to energy. As an example, you may recall my post several weeks ago about the ethanol/animal waste facility in Robeson County.

North Carolina in general and Orange County in particular are uniquely positioned to help create and nurture these cutting edge enviro-businesses. Our proximity to RTP and 3 major research universities, gives us an advantage in becoming a home to these kinds of operations.

These are the kind of companies we want in our county and our state--companies that are clean, that are making a difference by working to improve our environment, that move our country toward a more sustainable, energy independent future. I believe Orange County should be bold and use our economic development department to help nurture eco-friendly green entrepreneurs.