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What’s Next for Green Businesses

Since the tax credits for renewable energy were incorporated into the financial bailout plan that became law last week, green businesses have breathed a sigh of relief.

But green business owners know that they face obstacles. This week, E&ETV looked at some of them in an interview with Natural Resources and Defense Council energy analyst Jim Presswood.

E&ETV’s Monica Trauzzi asked how the financial crisis will affect solar and wind industries. Although some businesses could feel the credit pinch as banks continue to struggle, Presswood said he thinks the rapidly growing solar and wind industries could help pull the economy out of its doldrums, especially as Americans look for alternatives to fossil fuels. The extension of the tax credits means that private investment will still be attracted to clean energy, Pressman added.

Trauzzi also asked how a Democratic-controlled Congress could battle over tax credits for solar and wind power for almost two years yet move quickly to lift a 30-year-old ban on offshore oil drilling.

I expected Presswood to say that the Democrats are a bunch of weanies. Instead, he talked about some of the legislative politics at play — with fights between the Senate and House, Democrats and Republicans and members trying to please commercial interests, including oil and gas companies.

Ultimately, the political game-playing resulted in the lifting of the ban on offshore drilling becoming “must-pass legislation” and the renewable-energy tax credits becoming “a vigorous game of ping pong.”

Presswood believes that alternative energy will receive even more attention in 2009 under a new president, and with that knowledge, green companies can more comfortably focus on growing.

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