Green Energy Needs to be a Priority for Manufacturers
The push for a greener future is one of the biggest initiatives in manufacturing today. Some of the world’s biggest stewards of green operations are manufacturers, and many more are taking positive steps to invest in sustainable change. One area where manufacturing falls short, however, is in reliance on fossil fuels. Oil and coal are cheap and abundant. Instead of undoing their reliance on these traditional energy sources, manufacturers are looking elsewhere for green innovation. In the process, they’re enabling broader reliance on it, which further stymies the introduction of cleaner, greener energy.
Manufacturing sets the pace on energy
In a recent climate change report by CNN, the use of fossil fuels among industrialized countries was identified as on the rise in the face of climate change, instead of lowering with the introduction of green energies. According to the report, “Countries need to wind down their fossil fuel production by 6% every year between now and 2030. Instead, they’re on track to produce an increase of 2% per year.”
The CNN report looks at developed nations that have made pledges to reduce their emissions in the coming decade: Canada, South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.S. Although these countries have made strides to lower their carbon output, there’s still significant reliance on fossil fuels for manufacturing and production. This reliance is more than stunting the strive for net-zero carbon emissions — it’s raising emissions outputs in the near-term.
At the heart of it all is manufacturing. The biggest drivers of fossil fuel dependence are some of the biggest pillars of industry: power, aviation, and car manufacturing. Until these industries change, manufacturing will continue to drive demand for fossil fuels and the emissions that come with them.
Georgia shows the power of clean energy
A future of green energy manufacturing is possible — and already a reality in many markets. Georgia is a great example. According to The Hill, Georgia is the third fastest-growing generator of solar power in the U.S. and the second fastest growing state for solar jobs in the country. The state has benefitted from hundreds of millions of dollars in new manufacturing, all within the green sector — even despite resistance and nonchalance from state lawmakers.
What Georgia represents is a twofold benefit — the power of green energy as a standalone industry and the ability of manufacturing to embrace greener energy without great disruption. According to reports, Georgia’s new investment in greener manufacturing is jumpstarting an area previously decimated by the loss of textile manufacturing due to offshoring. It’s a positive prospect for a core component of manufacturing that needs to change.
A new push toward green manufacturing
The shift to green energy for manufacturing could very quickly become an “adapt or die” situation with the impending Biden Administration. Biden’s top candidate to lead the Department of Energy is Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan. Granholm isn’t just a huge proponent of green energy — she’s also familiar with the manufacturing industry after presiding over some of the biggest automakers and producers in the country.
In her tenure as Governor, Granholm secured $1.35 billion in federal funding for companies to make electric cars and batteries, showing her emphasis on marrying green ideals with traditional manufacturing. She’s expected to maintain this charge if tapped as Energy Secretary. The result could be the push manufacturers finally need to make the shift from fossil fuels to greener energy, backed by the support of a forward-looking government.