Energy issues are top of mind in Congress. With gas prices creeping close to $4 per gallon everyone is looking for an alternative. President Obama most recently called for an end to subsidies for oil companies in order to raise investment in clean energy technology.
Antenna Group, a San Francisco-based clean tech firm, has seen its business in solar energy climb over the past decade. The firm now has nearly 50 clients in the energy space and just recently opened a new office. According to SVP and GM Caroline Venza, increased efficiencies and a decline in price for solar energy will fuel its continued growth. Moreover, she told us that there are “huge opportunities for many kinds of communications around this.”
“There’s so much R&D still happening, so much advancement every day in every category,” she told us. “The fact that the government is so involved and behind this industry is a significant driver.”
Where renewable energy used to be out of reach for many people, including businesses, it’s now more affordable. Moreover, it offers businesses “big returns on investments,” Venza said, making it more attractive. She pointed to last week’s news that French oil company Total decided to purchase as much as 60 percent of solar panel company SunPower Corp as evidence of the path of develpment and diversification of this area.
One energy sector that is struggling is nuclear, which is still reeling from the fears stemming from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. While a recent survey found that many Americans are supportive of nuclear energy (as long as the plants are no where near them), many still believe that waste disposal is an issue.
“Containment and storage are pretty antiquated. That’s the real issue around nuclear,” Venza told us. While it’s a long way off, Venza said that it’s this improved infrastructure that will improve nuclear, as well as other forms, of renewable energy.
In the meantime, President Obama’s panel to investigate fraud in the energy market met for the first time today.