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Companies everywhere are seeing the future of green energy. Renewable energy stocks are seeing strong returns and climate change is growing awareness among people everywhere. The rise in oil prices also has people moving towards cleaner forms of energy.
In 2007, a survey conducted showed that out of 150 companies, 71% in the United Kingdom showed in increase in awareness regarding customer expectations, and cost savings (PriceWaterhouseCoopers). The reason for this change was due to climate change anxieties.
Short-term profits simply are not associated with clean energy investments, which are usually pricey. For this reason, businesses are hesitant to adopt solar energy systems, when coal generated electricity is currently cheaper. However, recently corporations are beginning to take the leap into solar energy systems, and seeing big results.
Wal-Marty and Google have both made strides to adopt solar energy. Similarly, Bank of America has begun constructing a futuristic tower in Manhattan that will be powered by wind energy, and will recycle water and ice at night to cool the building during the day. While the shift towards cleaner energy is growing popular due to climate change awareness, corporations are also starting to see that renewable energy has a profitable future.
Guinness Atkinson Renewable Energy Fund, and other alternative energy mutual funds have shown remarkable returns. In fact, the New Alternatives Fund has outperformed the S&P by 16% (2007). Consumers are responding to exorbitant price increases in gas, and companies no longer want to appear, "un-green," and as a result of this, many mutual funds are showing great profits.
However, renewable energy is not without its risks. Because there is no definitive picture of the future of the emissions regulatory environment, there are no guidelines or framework in place. Governments should play a definitive role in defining and clarifying regulations for the future, and establishing rules and regulations.
Many corporations still feel that the government can play an even larger part in providing information and incentives for corporations and large companies interested in using solar energy. Because of an increased awareness of climate change and global warming, large corporations want to appear environmentally friendly, and are also interested in turning a profit where possible.