Renewable Energy

It's all about energy, from renewable sources to energy-efficient usage.

More Renewable Energy Please

8/15/2008 10:15:56 AM

Tags: electricity, solar, wind, geothermal

This week, there’s a nice article from Worldwatch with statistics on exactly how fast renewable energy is growing in the United States. The good news is, it’s growing rapidly — especially electricity from wind and geothermal.

But it made me wonder, exactly how much of our electricity already comes from renewable sources? Well, according to this fact sheet from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), it’s about 8.5 percent, and almost all of that is from hydropower — 6 percent.

Where are we going? One EIA projection says that we could be at 12.6 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Not very inspiring, is it? However, the U.S. Department of Energy also projects that we could produce 20 percent of our electricity from wind by 2030 if we address several challenges, including the need for additional transmission lines.

On the other hand, Al Gore recently challenged the country to set the audacious goal of getting 100 percent of our electricity from renewables within 10 years, so by 2018. It’s easy to see why he compared it to the challenge of putting a man on the moon: That would be a huge leap forward from where we are now. But it might be just the push we need to make the transition to renewable energy.

What about the presidential candidates? On his campaign Web site, Barack Obama specifically calls for 10 percent of our electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. (On his Web site, John McCain doesn’t suggest a specific goal for renewable electricity, but does say he favors support for renewables, including through tax credits.)

What kind of goals for renewable energy do you think the United States should aim for? Share your comments below.

 



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Post a comment below.

 

neosapiens
8/26/2008 7:27:37 PM
The longer we wait to roll out renewables, the harder it will be to get it done and the worse global warming will get. The rising cost of fossil fuels is crowding out everything else and slowly strangling the economy. It's only going to get harder to get action on renewables as people focus more and more on meeting their basic needs and government budgets become more and more over-subscribed. Those of us who can come up with the money have to make the sacrifice to implement what efficiency and renewable energy efforts we can. The special interests have Washington gridlocked and they've stacked the deck so that the legal and regulatory framework favors the big fossil-fuel enterprises and makes it hard for small, local efforts at renewables to succeed. I doubt that many Americans actually appreciate how urgent these issues have become. We need to mobilize the country much the way it was done in World War II--to ramp out conservation, efficiency, small scale power generation and renewable energy.

neosapiens
8/26/2008 7:27:11 PM
The longer we wait to roll out renewables, the harder it will be to get it done and the worse global warming will get. The rising cost of fossil fuels is crowding out everything else and slowly strangling the economy. It's only going to get harder to get action on renewables as people focus more and more on meeting their basic needs and government budgets become more and more over-subscribed. Those of us who can come up with the money have to make the sacrifice to implement what efficiency and renewable energy efforts we can. The special interests have Washington gridlocked and they've stacked the deck so that the legal and regulatory framework favors the big fossil-fuel enterprises and makes it hard for small, local efforts at renewables to succeed. I doubt that many Americans actually appreciate how urgent these issues have become. We need to mobilize the country much the way it was done in World War II--to ramp out conservation, efficiency, small scale power generation and renewable energy.

neosapiens
8/26/2008 7:16:56 PM
The longer we wait to roll out renewables, the harder it will be to get it done and the worse global warming will get. The rising cost of fossil fuels is crowding out everything else and slowly strangling the economy. It's only going to get harder to get action on renewables as people focus more and more on meeting their basic needs and government budgets become more and more over-subscribed. Those of us who can come up with the money have to make the sacrifice to implement what efficiency and renewable energy efforts we can. The special interests have Washington gridlocked and they've stacked the deck so that the legal and regulatory framework favors the big fossil-fuel enterprises and makes it hard for small, local efforts at renewables to succeed. I doubt that many Americans actually appreciate how urgent these issues have become. We need to mobilize the country much the way it was done in World War II--to ramp out conservation, efficiency, small scale power generation and renewable energy.

neosapiens
8/26/2008 6:54:45 PM
I agree: we have to move now. The longer we wait, the worse global warming gets and the more difficult it will be to pay for it, since the rising cost of fossil fuels will slowly strangle the economy. There are several difficulties to be overcome: the general public does not get how serious and urgent this all is; and the special interests have a deathgrip on Washington so that not only is financing and regulation blocked, but nothing is getting done to tear down the network of laws that prevent the rollout of renewables and that provide perverse incentives that motivate businesses to keep on polluting.

spork
8/19/2008 10:29:55 PM
I think comparing Al Gore's initiative to the moon shot is a good comparison. In today's dollars, NASA spent $150 billion over 8 years. Gore's plan wants to spend $300 billion dollars EACH YEAR over 10 years. In other words, twice the entire budget for the moon launch EVERY YEAR FOR 10 YEARS. see the article in Reason magazine: http://www.reason.com/news/show/127793.html

Matt Foster
8/18/2008 2:13:09 PM
It's hard to set goals for this because from what I can see, all levels of government don't even seem to recognize that there is a problem. I mean sure you hear the big whigs talk a good talk but what sort of action do we see from those legislative yahoos. Take the trasmission line "problem" for example. If different state governments would pass laws similar to California's that gave incentives for people to put up their own renewable sources of energy and then gave those people netmetering then we'd have wind mills all over Kansas and solar panels are over Texas and we wouldn't need new transmission lines; new transmission lines aren't the problem, just like all the other details regarding this issue aren't really problems. The problem is that the powers that be aren't really looking for solutions.

SBLACK
8/16/2008 4:54:58 PM
We need to focus on renewable energy for our future and we need to do it now not by 2030. The technology is there we just need to use it.

Jim Furman
8/16/2008 7:31:13 AM
Now is the time for America to get on board the renewable energy band wagon. We need to become self sufficient and not dependent on other country's oil.







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