Strange Bedfellows: Coal and Clean Energy?
The idea of creating a trust is at the convergence of these two trends. This would be a new investment vehicle, designed for the private and institutional investor in the U.S., China and worldwide, to allow transparent participation in high-quality green power companies in China and their U.S. counterparts. American management, technology, business planning and standards will enable acceleration of the new green energy economy. Technologies scaled and optimized in China will help build the new clean energy economies in America, China and beyond.
We do not need to wait for all governments to agree to carbon credits, cap-and-trade or similar monetization tactics. We can unleash the same economic engine that works for enabling small business entrepreneurs to grow new industries across America to work globally. The idea is to identify, replicate or further innovate existing business successes.
For example, a creative Mongolian coal field operation is using the best mining technologies available ― using the least possible resources in terms of water and chemicals, then sending that coal to electric power plants that utilize the best available abatement methods, thereby minimizing waste and environmental erosion.
You may ask, what makes this even remotely acceptable in a green portfolio?
There are several relevant points. A significant portion of the profits from this operation will be contributed to local conservation initiatives, especially in the major market: Beijing. Another portion will be directed to clean power investments on those coal fields, so as the coal is extracted, its one time output can be gradually replaced by continuous wind and solar generated electricity.
Another idea is a modern day version of the often quoted word from the movie "The Graduate" – plastics. Today Mr. McGuire might say the word "bioplastics" to Benjamin. The term is used to distinguish polymers made from agricultural products, such as grain or cellulosic starting materials, from those made from petroleum sources.
Although it might seem strange to tout the benefit of coal mining, when it is used as a means to drive further investment in clean energy, it might open a bridge from today to tomorrow.
Cleaning up the ecosystem one coal field at a time - it's a start.