Business leaders: Make renewable energy cheaper

August 21, 2008

As reported by Associated Press in Huffington Post

LAS VEGAS: Representatives from Google Inc. and General Electric Co. said Tuesday that widespread use of renewable energy in United States would be possible — if it were cheaper.

Renewable energy options will remain “boutique” industries unless their costs are cut to make them competitive with coal and other widely used power sources, said Dan Reicher, director for climate change and energy initiatives at Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm.

Reicher spoke to a group of politicians and energy experts at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. The meeting’s attendees said they hope to develop a national energy agenda to take to the Democratic and Republican parties at their upcoming conventions.

“There’s a whole set of factors that go into the ultimate cost of energy,” Reicher said after announcing a plan for Google to invest more than $10 million to develop “enhanced geothermal systems” technology to generate energy from rocks deep below the earth’s surface.

Google’s project replicates traditional geothermal systems deep below the Earth’s surface by circulating water through hot rock and running the steam through a turbine that generates electricity.

Google said its goal was to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity — enough to power a major city.

“These are all high-capital-costs projects,” Reicher said.

One by one, speakers at the meeting touted the benefits of various energy-related initiatives, including how large-scale solar power could generate thousands of jobs and why wind power could lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil. Extending tax credits, establishing caps on carbon emissions and modernizing the nation’s electricity grid were also ideas that speakers said would be crucial to building a “green” economy.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the energy discussion was timely, and he criticized presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain for not having a real debate about energy.

“They’re treating us to a political silly season,” Bloomberg said, not mentioning either candidate by name but citing ideas such as tapping the nation’s strategic oil reserve or giving Americans a gas tax holiday.

“The best that can be said about these ideas is that they’re pandering,” Bloomberg said. “Far worse, they’re distractions from the deadly serious business of creating a new national energy policy.”

General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt did not attend, but said in a video presentation that the government and the business community need to move forward.

“The technology exists, the time is now,” he said. “We need a call to action — not a call to go to another conference.”

Former President Bill Clinton laid out a 10-point plan Monday that included expanded research for carbon dioxide storage and accelerating a shift toward plug-in hybrid electric cars.

Texas oil baron T. Boone Pickens also presented his plan to develop wind energy to generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, then use natural gas to power cars until hydrogen or plug-in electric cars become widely available.

“I don’t see many people from my party,” said Pickens, a Republican. “I’m making new friends, and that’s good.”

Our Perspective:

With the expected increase in electric demand projected to be 1 1/2% a year for the next 8-10 years, America is faced with a challange. To continue with the business as usual attitude experts project that we will be faced with rolling brownouts.  To be proactive, The federal government has instituded a 30% federal tax credit. Many states are either paying additional rebates and grants. In NJ, they have been very proactive by increasing the value of SRECs ( Solar Renewable Energy Certificates). SCRECs are a commodity paid by the local preovider that will ultimately help underwrite upto 90% of the invested cost over a 15 year period.

The alternative energy evolution is here and will help the US to introduce a new green era in energy that will sustain our growth and independence for years to come.

Would you like to know more about alternative energy opportunities in NJ and PA email george@hbsadvantage.com . Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

2 Responses to “Business leaders: Make renewable energy cheaper”

  1. brendan said

    It’s not about making renewables cheaper, it is about making the non-renewables charged at their true cost. Factor in the environmental cost and their is no comparison. Factor in the losses in power transmission and distributed decentralised systems become very attractive (just not to power companies!).

    For the last 2.5 years I have lived and worked from an Off the Grid home powered by solar PV. It is so easy to do with off the shelf technology and payback for us was instant! Not 9 to 15 years. Creative financing of the power system into an existing mortage meant we saved from day one. It can be done now. Dont believe the myths from power companies and governments who have a vested interest in keeping the monoply the way it is!

    Brendan
    What Else Is Possible?

  2. […] News » News Business leaders: Make renewable energy cheaper2008-08-26 10:22:2920 percent of the nation’s electricity, then use natural gas to power cars […]

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