NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: WHAT THE OBAMA ADMINSTRATION WANTS FOR NEW ENERGY

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  • FRIDAY WORLD, January 14:
  • Global Leaders Name Climate Crisis World’s Biggest Risk
  • New Energy’s New Storage Options

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    TODAY’S STUDY: WHAT THE OBAMA ADMINSTRATION WANTS FOR NEW ENERGY

    Bob Dylan said it: “You gotta serve somebody…” At this time of the year, most people realize they have to serve the government, in the form of taxes.

    Everybody pays taxes, one way or the other. Even GE: Those headlines about them entirely escaping their obligation to the IRS were erroneous and retracted. GE surely doesn’t pay what most working people would likely consider their fair share, but they pay. And much of what doesn’t go to the IRS goes to GE’s army of tax attorneys and experts. (Yes, deductible expenses.)

    Even Kings and Dictators pay up. If they don't return some of their wealth to their people, they don’t stay Kings and Dictators indefinitely, as Hosni Mubarak recently discovered and King George found out in 1776, even as they paid armies and other operatives in futile attempts to hold power (and avoid becoming taxpayers like everybody else).

    What this has to do with New Energy: Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Nuclear conduct themselves as if they will never have to pay and assure the world over and over they have solved all their problems and there will be no more incidents. Yet regularly, as the world has dramatically seen in the last year, they do pay.

    Thus, the compelling logic of New Energy: The Old Energies pay in human suffering and death and ecosystem devastation. The New Energies pay in the form of variability and complexity, to the benefit of human life and its environment.

    There are parallels in human relationships. Selfish, shortsighted people, unable to control their impulses act out as if they will not have to pay. When, inevitably, they do pay, the cost is not only to themselves but to all those touched by their toxic behavior.

    People mature enough to plumb the depths and complexities of those with whom they are engaged reap the reward of coming to terms with human variability and psycho-emotional complexity. Dylan described this passionate, complex grappling with human variability: “My love she speaks like silence/ without ideals or violence/ she doesn’t have to say she’s faithful/ yet she’s true like ice and fire…”

    The U.S. energy establishment is dominated by Old Energy powers that insist on doing their thing and pretending they will never have to pay. Yet they inevitably do pay and so does the public: Coal miners and the people in the vicinity of coal plants who breath pay; oil platform roustabouts and the people who depend on offshore ecosystems pay; and peaceful communities told meltdowns can’t happen and the green glow in the drinking water is an optical illusion pay.

    Sooner or later, Old Energy’s payoff is none of the energy and all of the trouble or as Dylan put it: “…Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again…”

    The New Energies come with variability and it will take complex solutions to resolve it, solutions like storage not yet perfected, infrastructure not yet built and/or transmission system intelligence not yet implemented. The payoffs will be energy security, domestic economic expansion and a healthier environment.

    Meanwhile, good luck with those taxes. Because Friday, April 15, is Emancipation Day – the commemoration of Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 signing of the Emancipation Act freeing the slaves – the filing deadline this year is Monday, April 18.

    The current President has, as the White House paper highlighted below demonstrates, been talking since before he took office about an emancipation from the tyranny of Old Energy. We are now engaged in a great political war testing whether this nation, like many nations, so deceived and so dominated can overcome it...


    Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future
    March 30, 2011 (The White House)

    Introduction

    Rising prices at the pump affect everybody – workers and farmers; truck drivers and restaurant owners. Businesses see it impact their bottom line. Families feel the pinch when they fill up their tank. For Americans already struggling to get by, it makes life that much harder. Demand for oil in countries like China and India is only growing, and the price of oil will continue to rise with it. That’s why we need to make ourselves more secure and control our energy future by harnessing all of the resources that we have available and embracing a diverse energy portfolio.

    Every president since Richard Nixon has called for America’s independence from oil, but Washington gridlock has prevented action again and again. If we want to create a more secure energy future, and protect consumers at the pump, that has to change. When President Obama took office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. Today, he pledged that by a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third, and put forward a plan to secure America’s energy future by producing more oil at home and reducing our dependence on oil by leveraging cleaner, alternative fuels and greater efficiency.

    click to enlarge

    We’ve already made progress toward this goal – last year, America produced more oil than we had in the last seven years. We’re taking steps to encourage more offshore oil exploration and production – as long as it’s safe and responsible. And, because we know we can’t just drill our way out of our energy challenge, we’re reducing our dependence on oil by increasing our production of natural gas and biofuels, and increasing our fuel efficiency. Last year, we announced ground-breaking fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks that will save consumers thousands of dollars and conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil.

    And beyond our efforts to reduce our dependence on oil, we must focus on expanding cleaner sources of electricity, including renewables like wind and solar, as well as clean coal, natural gas, and nuclear power – keeping America on the cutting edge of clean energy technology so that we can build a 21st century clean energy economy and win the future.

    To help us reach these goals, the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future outlines a three-part strategy:

    Develop and Secure America’s Energy Supplies: We need to deploy American assets, innovation, and technology so that we can safely and responsibly develop more energy here at home and be a leader in the global energy economy.

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    Provide Consumers With Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy: Volatile gasoline prices reinforce the need for innovation that will make it easier and more affordable for consumers to buy more advanced and fuel-efficient vehicles, use alternative means of transportation, weatherize their homes and workplaces, and in doing so, save money and protect the environment. These measures help families’ pocketbooks, reduce our dependence on finite energy sources and help create jobs here in the United States.

    Innovate our Way to a Clean Energy Future: Leading the world in clean energy is critical to strengthening the American economy and winning the future. We can get there by creating markets for innovative clean technologies that are ready to deploy, and by funding cutting-edge research to produce the next generation of technologies. And as new, better, and more efficient technologies hit the market, the Federal government needs to put words into action and lead by example.

    What follows is a roadmap that aims to distill some of the challenges at hand, and to outline strategies for surmounting those challenges that build on the strong record of what the Obama Administration has already accomplished and set in motion.

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    Executive Summary

    Develop and Secure America’s Energy Resources Expand Safe and Responsible Domestic Oil and Gas Development and Production

    Even as we develop next generation energy technologies, we will continue to rely on oil and gas. Last year, U.S. crude production reached its highest level since 2003. But we must ensure that production is safe, responsible, and efficient. In the wake of Deepwater Horizon, the Administration has reformed safety and environmental standards for oil and gas exploration, making structural reforms within the Department of the Interior to improve oversight. At the same time, we are encouraging exploration, development, and production—rewarding industry for effectively and responsibly utilizing resources that belong to the American people. Additionally, we are encouraging the exploration of new frontiers of production and of new ways to safely make use of domestic assets like our vast reserves of natural gas.

    click to enlarge

    Lead the World Towards Safer and More Secure Energy Supplies

    We know that markets are global. The recent crude oil price increases, which translate into higher prices at the pump, have many causes, including the global economic recovery and unrest in the Middle East. But a major cause of the recent price rise is the concern that global oil demand will outpace supply over the next few years. The dependence of the global vehicle fleet on oil makes this problem especially acute. That’s why we are working to reduce oil demand and increase reliable supplies of oil around the world in the years ahead, as we also work to diversify the fuel mix in our vehicle fleets. We have already taken, and will take more, steps at home both to reduce oil demand through efficiency, technology, and conservation and to increase domestic production in a manner that is safe and protects our environment. We are also acting in the international arena to moderate global oil demand and secure additional supplies of liquid fuels.

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    Provide Consumers with Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy Reduce Consumer Costs at the Pump with More Efficient Cars and Trucks

    Transportation is the second costliest expense for most American households, and it’s responsible for more than 70 percent of our petroleum consumption. So, one of the best ways to make our economy less dependent on oil – and save consumers money – is simply to make our transportation more efficient. Since taking office, President Obama has taken bold steps to transform these challenges into opportunities across the transportation sector. These efforts include the historic investments in advanced vehicle and fuel technologies, public transit, and high speed rail under the Recovery Act, as well as the ambitious new fuel economy standards put into place for cars and trucks – which will raise average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, and save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles covered. These actions are already helping to lower transportation costs by reducing our dependence on oil, provide more transportation choices to the American people, and revitalize the U.S. manufacturing sector.

    But we need a sustained effort, which is why the President set an ambitious goal that by 2015 we would have 1 million electric vehicles on the road, becoming the world’s leader in advance vehicle technologies. To help reach this goal, the President is proposing bold steps to improve the efficiency of all modes of transportation, from air to highways to rail to water, and to develop alternative fuels. He is continuing to push forward on fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. He has proposed to speed the adoption of electric vehicles with new more effective tax credits for consumers and support for communities that create an environment for widespread adoption of these advanced vehicles in the near term. And he is taking steps to encourage increased use of biofuels.

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    Cut Energy Bills with More Efficient Homes and Buildings

    Our homes, businesses and factories account for more than 70 percent of the energy we consume, and we need to invest in energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors to improve U.S. competitiveness, lower electricity bills, and protect our environment. This is why the President has laid out a bold vision for sparking a new home-grown industry in making our homes, buildings, and factories more energy efficient. The President’s plan lays a foundation for the private sector to dramatically scale up investments and reap the enormous benefits that come with greater energy efficiency. Because there is no “one size fits all” solution, the Administration is supporting a variety of programs that are tailored to the unique challenges of each sector and will leverage public dollars to encourage private sector investment and job creation. Building on efficiency investments in the Recovery Act , which have already led to the weatherization of about 350,000 projects that are helping lower income Americans reduce energy bills, the Administration’s ongoing efficiency agenda crosses sectors. It includes an ongoing commitment to passing HOMESTAR legislation to will help homeowners finance retrofits, a “Better Buildings Initiative” to make commercial facilities 20 percent more efficient by 2020, and a range of steps to promote industrial efficiency.

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    Innovate Our Way to a Clean Energy Future Harness America’s Clean Energy Potential

    A global race is underway to develop and manufacture clean energy technologies, and China and other countries are playing to win. To rise to this challenge, we need to tap into the greatest resource we have: American ingenuity. We have the most dynamic economy in the world, and there is no reason we can’t lead the world. But clean energy innovation, and the jobs that come with it, don’t just happen. That’s why, in his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed an ambitious but achievable standard for America: By 2035, we will generate 80 percent of our electricity from a diverse set of clean energy sources – including renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower; nuclear power; efficient natural gas; and clean coal. A Clean Energy Standard (CES) will provide the signal investors need to move billions of dollars of capital off of the sidelines and into the clean energy economy, creating jobs across the country and reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

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    We’re already making great strides in this direction. Agencies across the Federal government, including the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and the Interior, are working to promote clean energy deployment by offering grants under the Recovery Act to renewable energy manufacturers and developers; funding cutting-edge R&D; modernizing our rural energy infrastructure; siting the world’s largest solar power plants on public lands; and opening a new frontier for offshore wind development. Thanks to these concerted efforts, we are on track to double renewable energy generation by 2012.

    Looking ahead, meeting the President’s target will position the United States as a global leader in developing and manufacturing cutting-edge clean energy technologies. It will ensure continued growth in the renewable energy sector, building on the progress made in recent years. And it will spur innovation and investment in our nation’s energy infrastructure, creating American jobs.

    Creating a market for new technologies will be central to charting a path to a clean energy future – but there is more we need to do. For that reason, the Administration is also advancing policies that will help to modernize the electric power grid while ensuring a safe and reliable power plant fleet.

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    Win the Future Through Clean Energy Research and Development

    Maintaining our leadership in research and development is critical to winning the future and deploying innovative technologies that will create quality jobs and move towards clean energy economy that reduces our reliance on oil. But as we aspire to achieve new breakthroughs – a battery that will take a car 300 miles on a single charge or a way to turn sunlight into fuel like gasoline, we area already beginning to see how our investments in the future are changing the game today. Through the Recovery Act, the Administration has invested in a host of clean energy programs and ultimately supported thousands of projects across the country targeted at the demonstration of clean energy projects in every state. The Recovery Act investments include funding the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for the first time ever, a program that helps projects move from idea to implementation. Today, some of these aspirations have penetrated the market – like “1366 Technologies,” a small Massachusetts startup that received a $4 million ARPA-E grant to develop solar panel components for 80 percent less than the current cost, and which has since secured $33.4 million in private investment. These kinds of innovations can help us to achieve a “Sunshot” – making new solar technologies cost-competitive and achieving dreams of a clean energy future.

    Lead by Example: Clean Energy and the Federal Government

    As new technologies emerge, the Federal government has a responsibility to lead by example. Our government owns and manages approximately 500,000 buildings and operates more than 600,000 fleet vehicles. The electricity used for its buildings, the fuel used in its cars and trucks, and the energy required in military operations make it the largest energy consumer in the US economy. That’s why President Obama signed an Executive Order that made it the responsibility of every Federal agency to help move the nation towards a clean energy economy by leading by example, practicing what we preach, and improving the government’s energy efficiency while expanding our use of clean energy. And that’s why the Blueprint announces new steps, to improve the Federal fleet’s performance so that it is composed entirely of alternative fuel vehicles, is fuel-efficient.

    click to enlarge

    Develop and Secure America’s Energy Supplies

     Expand Safe and Responsible Domestic Oil and Gas Development and Production...

     Lead the World Towards Safer, Cleaner, and More Secure Energy Supplies...

    Provide Consumers with Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy

     Reduce Consumer Costs at the Pump with More Efficient Cars and Trucks...

     Cut Energy Bills with More Efficient Homes and Buildings...

    Innovate Our Way to a Clean Energy Future

     Harness America’s Clean Energy Potential...

     Win the future through Clean Energy Research and Development...

     Lead by Example: The Federal Government and Clean Energy…

    click to enlarge

    Conclusion

    We’ve known about the dangers of our oil dependence for decades. Presidents and politicians of every stripe have promised energy independence, but that promise has so far gone unmet.

    That has to change. And while there are no quick fixes, we have one critical, renewable resource that the rest of the world cannot match: American ingenuity.

    To make ourselves more secure and to control our energy future, we will need to harness that ingenuity. This will be no small endeavor, but if we build on the historic progress the Administration has made over the last two years, we won’t just spark new jobs, industries and innovations. We will leave this generation and future generations with a country that is stronger, healthier, and more prosperous.

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