Can Green Markets Put Green Back in Your Pocket?

By Curt Bennink, Senior Field Editor The current administration touts the benefits of an emerging "green energy" market and how new jobs will be created as we strive to develop alternative forms of energy. To what extent these new markets can fill the current job vacancies remains open for debate, but there certainly are some opportunities out there as these new markets emerge. This fall, we talked to a couple of contractors who discovered lucrative opportunities installing power lines for wind farm installations. And early this year, we interviewed a pair of contractors who had changed the core direction of their land clearing operations to focus on opportunities to supply wood products to regional biomass plants. This emerging biomass energy market received a boost in the form of a subsidy program - the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). (Visit www.usda.gov for a nationwide list of BCAP-qualified plants.) This government subsidy program provides financial assistance for producers and other entities that are delivering biomass material or other product to these facilities. Producers are eligible for a dollar for dollar match up to $45 per ton. It was funded at the end of 2009 and the money is currently beginning to flow to the market. While it is an emerging market, it promises strength compared to the condition of commercial construction. As these opportunities continue to arise - whether it's in geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, etc. - you may want to investigate whether you can develop the expertise to participate. Carving out a niche in a new market is just one survival tool that deserves a second look. Are you carving your niche in a unique area? If so, drop us a line - we're eager to hear about it!

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