The gold in green tech is also measured in jobs

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD


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Supporters of "green" technologies, especially in the power space, often stress the financial payback of regenerative-energy systems, more efficient electronics, and intelligent power management. Another very important aspect of green power infrastructures is that they encourage manufacturing and employment. A system using alternate energy or advanced control methodologies may cost more than legacy solutions, but that expense is mitigated both by performance advantages and cost-of-ownership issues. Add to that the fact that someone must design and manufacture the advanced systems and devices involved in those systems to make them "green", and you have incentives beyond a love of the ecology to support next-generation power systems development. Those jobs and manufacturing opportunities are ways to recapture sagging middle-class incomes in nations challenged by global trade issues. Precision devices need talented designers and manufacturers with accurate tools and processes to compete at the world-class level. Addressing applications from grid-level infrastructures to personal luxury items, the market for next-generation advanced products powered by green technologies promises to be good for the design engineering community. According to Roland Berger, the worldwide market for green technology has grown by 11.8% a year on average since 2007, and is now worth over EUR 2 trillion. By 2025, they believe it will more than double to EUR 4.4 trillion. That's a market almost completely open for competition, as the core technologies and infrastructures are only now just being commercialized and the current industry leaders cannot count on their existing market share maintaining in the face of disruptive market developments. This technology progression has no boundaries in scale or scope. Everything that uses power can use it more efficiently, with cost and effort being the primary obstacles. Using the proper technologies we can generate significant amounts of power from environmental sources such as water, wind, geothermal, and the sun. Even personal devices will eventually be able to power themselves from harvested energy; it is already starting to happen in the area of self-powered sensors in medical monitoring applications. The key is that there are multiple forces driving our society to a greener and more technically sophisticated one. Advanced power generation, storage, and management technologies are making green tech viable in products and services that provide real cost-effective solutions. Add to that the a future where every major power producing and storage system as well as every power consuming system in developed countries will eventually be linked to one for both power and management efficiency as well, and you have an opportunity for those willing to seize it. Power Systems Design