|Green Companies to Get a Piece of the Federal Budget Action|
|Wednesday, 19 May 2010 00:00 | Written by Steve Graham | Blog Entry|
What’s the difference between Germany’s booming renewable energy industry and its slower-growing US competitors? In large part, the answer is in Germany’s simple, steady and lucrative incentives for installing and using alternative energy. In essence it subsidizes utility companies so they can buy energy back from homeowners at above-market rates, which is necessary to encourage the adoption of alternative energy until its costs come down or conventional energy costs rise—both likely sooner or later.
Unlike Germany, US energy policy and incentives change with every Congress and presidency. However, while regulations come and go, you can count on one thing: The federal government will keep spending. The feds spent $3.5 trillion in 2009, and spending is only set to increase.
Fortunately, a growing piece of that pie will go to green companies. In June, all federal agencies are expected to have energy-saving plans in place for their entire supply chains, travel budgets and other activities.
The General Services Administration’s ultimate goal is a zero-carbon footprint for the federal government. Agency officials describe this as its version of the moon shot.
Companies with green products to sell the feds should try to get in the good graces of Steve Kempf—and don’t try to hoodwink him. He is the acting commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service. He told Federal News Radio that his agency is reviewing budgets and trying to make sure that products and services are truly sustainable.
"Over the long term, we are looking at what it means to be a sustainable supplier," Kempf said. "One of the things I would like to see on the schedule is companies that provide the latest state-of-the-art sustainable products and services. I also want to see those companies already on the schedule make their products and service more green and sustainable."
One technology company is already benefiting from the government’s green largesse. Noblis is being paid to develop a new carbon-footprint analysis tool that includes a green-initiative return-on-investment calculator and automatic greenhouse-gas reporting based on energy usage. These are the kinds of systems that should be in place at every government and company around the world.