Archive for January, 2009

“Green” Energy

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

I firmly believe that during this century the availability of energy will determine the course of mankind. If we are wise enough to invest the resources necessary in new sources of renewable, clean energy, the future will be bright for mankind. If we continue to rely on the same dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, the next century will be marred by fighting over those resources. This is THE most important issue facing us at this time.

Early indications are that the Obama administration is heading in the right direction on energy policies. Among their plans are the following:

  • Provide short‐term relief to American families facing pain at the pump. Easier than it looked – this may be the only benefit from the current state of the economy. We need to be careful that the temporary low fuel prices do not derail plans for alternatives.
  • Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years
    to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. During the campaign, $150 billion looked like a big number. The bail-out and economic stimulation bills have put that in perspective. The good news is that according to a January 25, 2009 Washington Post article, “Obama wants to double renewable energy capacity within three years, creating enough additional capacity to power 6 million homes, and he plans to leverage $100 billion to finance private-sector clean-energy initiatives.”
  • Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela
    combined. We better. Oil production peaked several years ago in most of the middle east and world consumption, with the exception of this (hopefully) short hiatus due to the economy, continues to increase.
  • Put 1 million Plug‐In Hybrid cars – cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon – on the road by
    2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America. If they get 150 mpg, they can come from Botswana.
  • Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by
    2025. Only 25% in 16 years? If our consumption grows at slightly over 1% annually, that might cover our increase in demand. We have to act quickly!
  • Implement an economy‐wide cap‐and‐trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80
    percent by 2050. Hopefully, there will be some dry land and breathable air left by then.

All kidding aside, the plan is certainly an about-face from our previous administration and is setting us on the right course.

Several large privately-funded groups have formed to promote their ideas concerning the need for alternative or “green” energy. In the February 19, 2007 post on this blog, an overview of some ideas from the Apollo Alliance were presented. In this post, two more groups will be reviewed – The Pickens Plan and

Pickens Plan

The Pickens Plan is focused on removing our addiction to foreign oil. They are lead by T. Boone Pickens, a Billionaire who made his fortune on oil, but has recognized we need to find an alternative. Their plan is:

  • Create millions of new jobs by building out the capacity to generate up to 22 percent of our electricity from wind. And adding to that with additional solar capacity/li>
  • Building a 21st century backbone electrical grid
  • Providing incentives for homeowners and the owners of commercial buildings to upgrade their insulation and other energy saving options
  • Using America’s natural gas to replace imported oil as a transportation fuel.

Almost 1.4 million people have joined the Pickens Army and Boone has the ear of many of the most influential businessmen and politicians from both parties.

From their website: “We can Repower America with 100% clean electricity within 10 years. Doing so would deliver the affordability, stability and confidence our economy needs, as well as help solve the climate crisis. All it takes is the political will to support national policies that…

  • Get the most out of the energy we currently produce.
  • Rapidly deploy the clean energy technologies we already know can work.
  • Create a new smart, integrated grid to deliver power economically from wherever it is generated to wherever people live.” has over 2 million members and growing.

The grass roots support for these relatively new organizations coupled with the new mentality in Washington bodes well for our ability to solve the critical issues we face in solving our energy problems.