Thursday, December 31, 2009

Establishing the US Renewable Energy Industry

Our dependence on fossil fuels is simply based on the scalability and low cost options these fuel sources provide.  Crude oil, coal, and natural gas provide very good sources of transportable energy. 
Today we realize that whether we like it or not the use of fossil fuels is pumping CO2 and other contaminants in our atmosphere.  In the US we also have a tremendous appetite for fossil fuels which necessitates the dependence on energy from some countries which to put it nicely have a “love-hate” relationship with the US.  If these countries decided to stop selling energy to the US it would mean significant changes to our lives.
We have imported 3+ billion barrels of crude oil annually since 2000.  We produce about 2 billion barrels of crude oil domestically.  Renewable Energy is competing with large highly developed supply chains and conversion technologies.  Crude, coal, and natural gas have been used for decades.  Over time these supply chains and conversion processes have become very large, efficient, and deliver good value.
It is difficult or not possible for many renewable energy technologies to compete with fossil fuels since they are either relatively young or have been used sporadically.  They simply have not had the time and/or money to develop cost effective processes and large supply chains.
These environmental and economic factors should be leading us to aggressively pursue and support renewable energy opportunities.  The government has an opportunity to step up its role in the development of a lasting renewable industry.
Currently we have 38 CZARS give or take.  Renewable energy at least deserves an executive position (maybe even a cabinet position) with clear and simple goals?  Reducing our dependence on foreign energy and producing more energy in a sustainable manner.
 The US needs a path forward which ensures that renewable energy and traditional fossil fuel based energy interests are aligned with a common goal of reducing our fossil fuel usage and environmental impact.  The economic factors may not be enough to move renewable energy forward and similar to other national interests a clear plan needs to be developed and executed.

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