Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust | Wired Magazine | Wired.com
The price of natural gas peaked at nearly $13 per thousand cubic feet in 2008. It now stands at around $3. A decade ago, shale gas accounted for less than 2 percent of America’s natural gas supply; it is now approaching one-third, and industry officials predict that the total reserves will last a century. Because 24 percent of electricity comes from power plants that run on natural gas, that has helped keep costs down to just 10 cents per kilowatt-hour—and from a source that creates only half the CO2 pollution of coal. Put all that together and you’ve undone some of the financial models that say it makes sense to shift to wind and solar. And in a time of economic uncertainty, the relatively modest carbon footprint of natural gas gets close enough on the environmental front for a lot of people to feel just fine turning up the air-conditioning.
...The boom has gone bust.
And yet, clean tech is far from dead. Certain companies and technologies will emerge from the ruins not only to survive but to thrive, just like they did after the bursting of the Internet bubble.
Electric cars seem like a relatively safe bet, spurred by both rising oil prices and federal rules requiring greater fuel efficiency.