Top 8 reasons

8 Reasons To Be Optimistic About Clean Energy

It is easy to sing the blues over green energy.

Government budgets are in disarray. Subsidies are under attack, and climate change is suddenly a dirty word.

But all is not lost. Not by a long shot. Here are eight reasons to be optimistic about the future:

1/ Heavy hitters are entering the game. Google, Warren Buffet and others didn't reach their lofty levels by making mistakes. When they show interest, perhaps we should pay attention.

2/ The Department of Defense, saying our dependence on oil is a security issue, is deeply committed to going green. With a budget of $664 billion, the military should have some influence: If there is doubt, remember the Internet originally was invented for military purposes.

3/ Big Business is on board. Walmart and other companies are discovering that going green - either through renewable power such as solar or by becoming more energy efficient - adds to their bottom lines. Take a look at Walmart's 2011 sustainability report.

4/ Professional sports is getting up to bat: Hockey, baseball, football, basketball and other professional sports is a $19 billion per year enterprise that is gaining a green tint.

5/ Government agencies are pushing it through new programs and initiatives, such as "America's Next Top Innovator," a Department of Energy effort to find The Next Big Thing in clean energy.

6/ Energy conservation is going mainstream. Lowe's, Home Depot, Costco and other retailers are selling energy-efficiency and renewable energy off their shelves. Home builders include it in their sales pitches and awareness is growing.

7/ Costs are coming down. As clean energy grows, oil prices climb and technology advances, costs are decreasing faster than projected. It won't be long - next year, perhaps? - that solar achieves parity.

8/ California's requirement that utility companies get 33% of their power from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources by 2020. The mandate is incentive for more investment in clean energy in the state.