Considering that many first world countries are moving towards trying to improve their impact on the environment, having clean energy industry and innovation start in America is not something we want to miss out on. We need to be mindful of the future, and look at way that we can create new jobs for American workers. Hoping that we can undercut nations that pay $0.05 an hour is just not a reality unless we are more motivated to strictly buy American made products only, despite the price difference.
Although clean energy will have a large impact in the future, I do not believe that it can drive an economic recovery by itself. First of all, most of the clean energy research and development is funded by the government, which currently does not have any money to spend. Therefore, the clean energy thing won't do a whole lot right now.
Clean energy should certainly continue to be a goal and we should keep working to refine the technology. However, right now? It produces too little for too much money. The set up is massive and fiscally irresponsible to carry out on a large scale. The energy generated is minimal and prohibitive when compared to the cost of set up and maintenance. There are many great possibilities that we will certainly need in the future, but right now? It is entirely unlikely for it to be anything more than a cash sink that none of us can afford.
Clean energy technologies like wind and solar power, electric cars and biofuels remain only a small part of the economic picture, despite billions of dollars in taxpayer loans which have been spent on their development. Notable examples are Solyndra and Tesla, both of which have declared bankruptcy after being propped up by the government. These energy sources can provide small-scale alternatives to fossil fuels, but cannot produce enough energy to fuel the economic recovery America needs.