The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Claiming the Future: A Seven-Point Action Plan for Repowering America

Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week ought to serve as an urgent wake-up call to anyone that cares about America's energy, environmental, and economic future. At the podium, Romney chided President Obama on global warming, and his hoped-for GOP administration is advancing an "energy independence" plan built much more on the polluting industries of the past than the innovative clean technologies of the present and future. Somehow, global warming, renewables, and other clean-tech pursuits have become some of his favorite punch lines.

But clean tech is far from a laughing matter. Instead it’s the stuff of major multinationals such as GE, Toyota, and Siemens who are investing and making billions of dollars annually from their clean-tech initiatives; of startups including Tesla, SolarCity, and Agilyx who are respectively working to innovate electric vehicles, solar power finance, and plastics recycling; and of young Americans across our nation working to advance clean technologies, address climate change, and build thriving for-profit and non-profit ventures.

And contrary to what some would like you to believe, renewables energy production isn’t a marginal industry; it’s expanding rapidly in importance and penetration. In 2010 three states got more than 10 percent of their electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal. One year later, the number had doubled to six states including South Dakota and Iowa, which now generate approximately 20 percent of their total electricity from the wind alone. Clean tech isn’t shrinking; it’s starting to scale up to significant percentages for utilities, cities, states, and nations.

Perhaps this growth is exactly why some entrenched interests — and the politicians they fund — are working so hard to demonize clean tech, spread misinformation, and demoralize its supporters. But this partisan behavior overshadows a critical point: clean tech has historically been a bipartisan endeavor, and even to this day is supported by governors, mayors, and others on both sides of the political aisle. Even more important, renewables are overwhelmingly supported by citizens of all stripes and affiliations in poll after poll. 

Three Energy Pillars: Renewables, Natural Gas, and Efficiency 

In our just-released book, Clean Tech Nation, which looks broadly at the entire clean-tech industry, Clean Edge senior editor Clint Wilder and I make the case for a U.S. energy future built on renewables, responsible natural gas, and efficiency. Our research shows that most of the developed world simply doesn’t need new coal or nuclear to meet their energy objectives. Instead, the world’s industrialized nations could pursue:

  • Large-scale deployment of both centralized and distributed renewables, including solar, wind, and geothermal. Most of the 34 industrialized nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) can reach 30 percent or more renewables by 2030. This includes Japan, Germany, and the U.S.
  • The targeted use of current and next-generation natural gas power plants. A number of manufacturers, including GE, have launched advanced natural-gas-fired power plants that can be powered up and down quickly and efficiently. This means that next-generation gas-fired plants can act as perfect partners with intermittent renewables, offering an easy on-and-off backup to wind and solar power sources. Rather than pitting natural gas against renewables, states, utilities, and regulatory bodies can use these new plants, along with current low-emissions gas plants, in their arsenal of technologies to reduce emissions and reliance on more carbon-intensive fossil fuels, especially coal.
  • Aggressive investments in a smart, two-way grid. The electrification of automotive transportation and the growing requirements for reliable energy storage and backup for a data-driven economy will be the underpinning of a new smart grid. Nations that invest in smart meters, reliable networks that can accommodate the two-way flow of electrons, and resilient networks that do not result in cascading blackouts will be in a better position to accommodate the advanced generation technologies of the future.
  • The cost-effective and low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency. Light bulbs that use significantly less electricity, windows that insulate much better than their predecessors, and data centers optimized for squeezing the most out of every watt provide great hoards of untapped “negawatt” power, reducing the need for new generation plants and enabling renewables to increase their overall share of the energy pie.

But what steps can enable such an advanced energy future, and how can the U.S. lead the way? 

In Clean Tech Nation we offer a Seven-Point Action Plan for Repowering America that is bipartisan, grounded, and most importantly, we believe, achievable. Our plan’s supporters to date include a former oilman, a past president, current bank executives, nonprofit leaders, CEOs, and many others. It includes key action items that we believe can renew American leadership, and ensure the nation’s future economic competitiveness across the industrial spectrum, from energy and transportation to waste and water. 

Our recommended actions are:

There are no silver bullets, no single actions that can guarantee success. It will take a diversified portfolio approach. But we believe that the U.S., perhaps more than any other nation, is in a unique position to lead in everything from new financial models for renewables and efficiency deployment to open standards for the smart grid and green buildings. We’ve done it before in the computer and Internet revolutions, and in rail, air, and space transportation. We can do it again if we have the leadership and the will. 

At the national level, clean tech has become highly polarized during this election cycle. But, as noted earlier, multinational corporations, investors, and a crop of motivated innovators are aggressively exploiting the opportunities of cleaner, greener, smarter processes. At the local and regional level, mayors and governors, both Democrats and Republicans, are supporting the growth of clean-tech industries. And the majority of U.S. citizens believe that our nation’s future should be firmly planted in advanced energy technologies, not the polluting fossil fuels that powered the last century. For the sake of our nation, let’s hope that whoever is sitting in the White House in January 2013 will support the efforts of Americans across the country in moving forward, not backwards, and in emboldening America’s technology-driven, problem-solving culture. Nothing less than our nation’s economic competitiveness and the health of future generations relies on it.

Lead image: Take action sign via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Sunrise in Pakistan as the Country Delves into Solar PV

Robert Harker Pakistan has joined the list of countries that are exploring solar power as a means to bridge critical energy generat...

Global Renewable Energy Roundup: China, Kenya, Turkey, India Seeking More Renewables

Bloomberg News Editors China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to make up for sh...

Why Smarter Grids Demand Smarter Communications Networks

Mark Madden

Historically, utility networks and communications networks have had little in common.

The Importance of “Switching Costs” to the US Residential Solar Industry

Paula Mints The DoE and numerous organizations and governments globally are focused on driving down the cost of solar convinced t...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Ron Pernick, co-founder and managing director of Clean Edge, Inc. (www.cleanedge.com) and co-author of Clean Tech Nation and The Clean Tech Revolution, is an accomplished market research, publishing, and business development entrepreneur with thre...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

COMPANY BLOGS

Less Is More

When you’re giving a presentation, one of the easiest things to do...

Captivology

One of the biggest challenges we face as efficiency sales professionals ...

How To Optimize Your Meeting Schedule

Do you spend more time in meetings than you do actually working? While m...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS