On Tuesday, we hosted a lively forum at the White House, which brought more than 130 stakeholders– civilian and uniformed officials from the Department of Defense (DOD) and our armed services, policy makers from the Department of Energy (DOE), think tanks, and business entrepreneurs – together for a discussion on the importance of clean energy for our (more…)
Today President Obama travelled to Iowa and visited Siemens Energy, Inc., where he received a tour of the facility and saw the creation of blades that are capable of generating enough power for hundreds of homes. The President said that each employee of Siemens “Is helping stake America’s claim on a clean-energy future.”
The President discussed the future of clean energy in America, calling energy security “a top priority for my administration since the day I took office.” He explained that the Recovery Act made the largest investment in clean energy in the nation’s history- an investment expected to create or save 700,000 jobs by the end of 2012 and double America’s capacity to generate renewable electricity from sources like the sun and the wind: (more…)
On Tuesday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Jackalyne Pfannenstiel kicked off the first of several energy forums in front of a packed room to look at ways to increase biofuels production and meet the Navy’s renewable energy needs. The forum comes as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently signed by the USDA and the Navy to encourage the development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems.
As the President pointed out in his energy security remarks last week, “…the Pentagon isn’t seeking these alternative fuels just to protect our environment; they’re pursuing these homegrown energy sources to protect our national security. Our military leaders recognize the security imperative of increasing the use of alternative fuels, decreasing energy use, reducing our reliance on imported oil, making ourselves more energy-efficient.”
Traditionally, the geopolitical reality plays out like this: the United States relies on politically sensitive Middle Eastern petroleum, which makes the U.S. particularly sensitive to oil price volatility, which in turn, compels the U.S. to invest money and human capital in guaranteeing supply.
But as a major corn producer, the United States commits corn resources to biofuels in the name of moving towards energy independence, price security, and a clean energy economy. Meanwhile, China is industrializing, making a lot of money in the process, and beginning to suck up a rapidly growing percentage of the global supply of crude oil.
Did you know that America’s largest installed solar power plant is located on Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada? The 14-megawatt solar array (shown at left) went live in late 2007 and remains the largest solar power plant in the United States.
While First Solar’s recent announcement of two 250-megawatt solar power plants in California dwarfs the military’s solar array, the fact remains that for a considerable amount of time the military will have operated the largest solar array in the United States. Why would the military take this step? The answer is energy security.
While Americans hang out with their families today (Memorial Day), it might make sense for them to think a bit about the men and women that have perished while serving their country… it is because of them that we are taking the day off to eat hamburgers, drink beer, and prepare for summer.
While I live in San Francisco, I’m not the typical sappy hippie environmentalist denizen envisioned by some; but I do feel strongly about clean energy. I know that it is an investment that is worth the return for this country, even if that return is only measured by fewer armed conflicts and fewer mourning mothers.
Last night I had the dubious distinction of being the guy sitting next to former director of the CIA, Ambassador, and Undersecretary of the Navy (a post he held before I was born), and current Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton and partner at Vantage Point Venture Partners, R. James Woolsey.
He has a fairly clear message that he is happy to share with anyone that will listen:
The United States is at grave risk to both “malignant” and “malevolent” disruptions to the grid and that threat can be addressed through distributed renewable generation which can simultaneously reduce the importance of oil to the ignominious fall from grace of salt.
I have had the pleasure of hearing him speak and spending some time with him before moderating last night’s event, and despite how highly I thought of him before, he did not disappoint. His is a decidedly aggressive approach to the US’ energy future, and like the well trained litigator he is, he presents his case very well. Electric vehicles and distributed renewables are the hallmarks of an utopian (utopic?) energy future, that would leave OPEC states reeling with the need to find, as he puts it, honest work, and reducing the disposable cash reserves some currently use to fund terrorist activities.
This week, São Paulo is hosting the International Conference on Biofuels. Organized by the Brazilian government at the Hyatt Hotel, the event wants to encourage an international discussion on ethanol production and application worldwide. So far, the plenary session that called my particular attention was the Plenary Session III on “Biofuels and Sustainability” moderated by Marina Silva, the former Brazilian Minister of Environment. Some of the participants brought up a very provocative subject – the “Black Agenda”.
For Maria Foster, Director for Gas and Energy at Petrobras, the “Black Agenda” is an international lobby against international certification of Brazilian ethanol. In her opinion, this group is blocking worldwide commercialization of Brazilian ethanol because of oil companies’ concerns regarding the potential of ethanol on a global scale.