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Obama’s Energy Plan: Data Dismisses Doubters

Jeff Siegel | Tuesday January 27th, 2009 | 22 Comments

Reading the news yesterday morning, I came across a quote from Michael Morris, the CEO of American Electric Power, in regards to President Obama’s goal of doubling renewable energy in three years. Morris said that as a practical matter, Obama’s target is too ambitious.
Interestingly enough, American Electric Power Co. is the largest U.S. producer of electricity from coal. Of course, Morris was quick to note that he was not anti-wind or anti-solar, but rather wasn’t sure we could double our renewable energy so quickly.


Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil also chimed in on Obama’s renewable energy plan, saying that he thinks it’ll be very challenging to do. Big shocker there!
Listen: No matter how aggressive Obama’s renewable energy policy is, it is unlikely that those who seek to slow progress will ease up. That’s just a fact. Some scientist could create a new solar cell tomorrow that’s 100% efficient and could be deployed all over the world within three years – and still, guys like Tillerson, Morris, and former energy secretary, Sam Bodman will manufacture a new reason why this can’t happen.
So what do we do in the meantime?
The same thing we’ve been doing for the past decade – focusing on progress, delivering on our often-criticized goals, and analyzing new, accurate data that supports the benefits of a clean energy economy.
In fact, just this week we got some very encouraging news from the 2009 California Green Innovation Index, which provides data on the impact of innovation on the state’s economic and environmental health as California moves forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. This was mandated by the California Global Warming Solutions Act.
While clean energy opponents have long criticized the growth potential and economic benefits of clean energy, the Index actually found that…

* Since 2005, green job growth has grown by 10 percent, while statewide jobs have increased by only one percent. 20 percent of those jobs were generated in manufacturing.
* Nationally, California is the top-ranking state in alternative fuel vehicle registrations (excluding Flex Fuel vehicles).
* In 2007, 20 percent of new hybrid registrations in the U.S. were in California.
From 2002-2007, California led all states in patent registrations for green technologies, thereby increasing the state’s total number by 70 percent over a similar period in the early nineties.
* Despite slowing in overall venture capital investment, clean technology investment in California hit an all-time high in 2008 of $3.3 billion. That’s an increase of nearly $1.5 billion over 2007, and seven times the total clean tech investment in 2005.
* Over 1.5 million jobs have been created as a result of energy efficiency policies forged by California over the last 35 years, generating $45 billion in payroll.
* California’s energy productivity is 68 percent higher than that of the rest of the country. Measured as the ratio of energy consumed (inputs) to GDP (economic output), growth in energy productivity equates to more dollars of GDP generated per unit of energy consumed.
* Power generation from renewable sources increased by 19 percent in California from 2002 to 2007, while total energy generation grew by only 11 percent. Since 2003, the wind power generated in California increased 95 percent.
* California increased grid-connected photovoltaic capacity by 41 percent from 2006 to 2007.
Public transportation expanded 22 percent from 2005 to 2006, adding over 100.5 million transit service miles.
* Californians, per capita, pay lower utility bills and spend billions less of their state economy as a whole on electricity than the rest of the country due to energy efficiency innovation.
* California’s carbon economy has continued a gradual downward trend in the direction of a carbon-free economy, delinking economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. While GDP per capita has increased by 28 percent in 16 years, gross emission per capita are 10 percent lower than in 1990.
* There were plenty of naysayers when California first took the initiative to support clean energy integration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But here we are today with some validation that an aggressive move to integrate clean energy generation can contribute to job creation and an overall economic recovery.

Point is, we just have to focus on what needs to be done, instead of what the opposition claims cannot be done. Because at the end of the day, that’s all the really matters.


▼▼▼      22 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • http://www.gina-mariecheeseman.com Gina-Marie Cheeseman

    I completely agree with you! We have to focus on stopping climate change and not listen to the ‘nay sayers.’

  • http://www.gina-mariecheeseman.com Gina-Marie Cheeseman

    I completely agree with you! We have to focus on stopping climate change and not listen to the ‘nay sayers.’

  • John Jones

    LOL, you hit that nail right on the head!
    RT
    http://www.total-privacy.us.tc

  • Anonymous

    Besides those 100% solar cells have been invented already. And Zero-Point energy is a real life fact. Free & unlimited energy for everybody is possible today.

  • Anonymous

    Those 100% solar cells that were mentioned here have been invented already. And Zero-Point energy is a real life fact. Free & unlimited energy for everybody is possible today.

  • Michael

    Those 100% solar cells that were mentioned here have been invented already. And Zero-Point energy is a real life fact. Free & unlimited energy for everybody is possible today.

  • Anonymous

    You do realize California is broke, and it’s citizens experience regular brownouts, right?

  • AngryMan

    Does this justify taxing the non green energies with carbon taxes, all so green energies have funding? There’s a reason green is failing, and that is who wants to spend more on energy voluntarily? All of these carbon taxes are going to just be passed to the consumer, just as companies pass sales taxes to the buyer. Yea…great idea.

  • http://www.netinspired.com/musicbus/ Phil

    “Those 100% solar cells that were mentioned here have been invented already”
    Umm… no they’ve not. In fact, it’s almost physically impossible unless somehow, you can prevent the radiation of heat and reflective light from a solar cell.

  • N. A.

    There is nothing in this article that proves anything. All of this “growth” was based on obscenely high subsidies (far, far more per KWh than any other source of power). So yes, if you gave big enough subsidies to hoolahoops, their growth would go through the roof too.
    Wind, particularly, is erratic and actually causes the grid to run at less efficiency. It has been shown that in the end only a miniscule amount of CO2 is saved. Try talking to some engineers instead of fairy tale unicorn salesmen.

  • bigterguy

    And California’s support of ‘green technologies’ (please define!) has made it the economic envy of the world! NOT!!! ..
    How much money do you think Exxon-Mobil has spent on alternative energy R&D over the past 30 years? At least $1 billion. If they, and the other oil majors, had new economically competitive energy technologies don’t you think they would be exploiting them for profit??
    But the sad fact is that these alternatives are all inefficient and uneconomical compared to oil, gas and coal. Else ‘Big Oil’ would have long ago become ‘Big Windfarm’.

  • Anonymous

    alternatives are NOT inefficient and uneconomical. And don’t think for a second that the oil industry doesn’t get more than its fair share from the government.
    Back in 2000, there was a Department of Energy study which found that supply disruptions, price hikes and loss of wealth suffered through oil market upheavals have cost the U.S. economy around $7 trillion (in 1998 dollars) over the thirty years from 1970 to 2000. The study focused on macroeconomic adjustment costs, the potential loss of GDP and wealth transfer. What it didn’t include, however, were the military, strategic and political costs associated with U.S. and world dependence on oil imports. These costs, however, were recognized by a former Reagan White House alum and 12-year member of the National Petroleum Council, Milton Copulos.
    After taking into account the direct and indirect costs of oil, the economic costs of oil supply disruption and military expenditures, he estimated the true cost of oil at around $480 a barrel.
    Of course we can’t forget the subsidies either. While Big Oil sympathizers like to call out the renewable energy industry for being reliant upon subsidies, they do a great job at keeping their own subsidies well-hidden.
    A study by the International Center for Technology Assessment analyzed petroleum industry subsidies, including the percentage depletion allowance and tax-funded programs that directly subsidize oil production and consumption.
    It assessed up to $17.8 billion per year in tax subsidies, plus government program subsidies (such as R&D programs and environmental cleanup) of between $38 billion and $114.6 billion per year.
    Just something to think about the next time you want to question the economic and environmental superiority of renewable energy.
    The days of misinformation reigning are over. If you want to be a part of the solution, then great. If not, enjoy the view as we move forward.

  • http://www.greenchipstocks.com Jeff

    Alternatives are NOT inefficient and uneconomical. And don’t think for a second that the oil industry doesn’t get more than its fair share from the government.
    Back in 2000, there was a Department of Energy study which found that supply disruptions, price hikes and loss of wealth suffered through oil market upheavals have cost the U.S. economy around $7 trillion (in 1998 dollars) over the thirty years from 1970 to 2000. The study focused on macroeconomic adjustment costs, the potential loss of GDP and wealth transfer. What it didn’t include, however, were the military, strategic and political costs associated with U.S. and world dependence on oil imports. These costs, however, were recognized by a former Reagan White House alum and 12-year member of the National Petroleum Council, Milton Copulos.
    After taking into account the direct and indirect costs of oil, the economic costs of oil supply disruption and military expenditures, he estimated the true cost of oil at around $480 a barrel.
    Of course we can’t forget the subsidies either. While Big Oil sympathizers like to call out the renewable energy industry for being reliant upon subsidies, they do a great job at keeping their own subsidies well-hidden.
    A study by the International Center for Technology Assessment analyzed petroleum industry subsidies, including the percentage depletion allowance and tax-funded programs that directly subsidize oil production and consumption.
    It assessed up to $17.8 billion per year in tax subsidies, plus government program subsidies (such as R&D programs and environmental cleanup) of between $38 billion and $114.6 billion per year.
    Just something to think about the next time you want to question the economic and environmental superiority of renewable energy.
    The days of misinformation reigning are over. If you want to be a part of the solution, then great. If not, enjoy the view as we move forward.

  • Charly

    Visit this LINK to see why 100% eficient solar panels are not far away from today.

  • Ken Yeap

    Hope 2009 will bring good luck to the world.Anyway,have you see some one look very close to Obama? I have one here!

  • drklassen

    The only reason alternative energy is less competitive in the market is because the current energy forms (coal and oil) do not have to pay the full costs of bringing their product to market, whereas wind and solar do. That is, energy is not a free market.

    Oil companies get vast subsidies; they get to lease public lands or buy them at a prices significantly below “market value” (in that, they are the only ones bidding on the leases) and so on. Similarly for coal with the added “benefit” that they rarely have to clean up after themselves when their work has been found to have poisoned an area. Taxpayers pay for it. And all of this is before considering the cost of greenhouse gas emissions (carbon taxing).

    Make them pay their way in full and we’ll see just how cheap wind and solar can be.

    Or better yet, we ought to just simply nationalize the entire energy production endeavor. One could argue that energy is such a necessity to basic living that to leave it up to for-profit industries, willing to turn off someones heat in the middle of winter and let them die, is the height of immorality.

    Nationalize energy, mass transit and dissolve “agribusiness” in favor of “farming” and we’ll see this land prosper once again.

  • http://www.worththeenergy.wordpress.com Tom

    I agree. We do need to focus on what needs to be done, and just do it!

  • Anonymous

    You do realize California is broke, and it’s citizens experience regular brownouts, right?

  • http://www.globalwarmingisreal.com Tom

    Well, California may be broke – I’m not sure where the idea that we’re having brownouts comes from. Perhaps someone that doesn’t live in California?

  • Anonymous

    Yes and do you realize that California receives a good amount of power from other states using coal power??? This way it makes it look like they are green.

  • https://www.triond.com/users/beauley Lucien Beauley

    As I mentioned many times…Let’s begin a “Manhatten” ,or “Apollo” type program with a different name and do it. In a few years we will look back and say, “Yes we could.”
    With Global Warming on many people’s minds, do we have any ideas of the best way to lessen the impact on our future, or maybe a possible relief of its possible ravages or even a possible key to its eventual reversal. Many scientific experts have proposed

    Solar Power: Source of Endless Energy

  • http://bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com Clay

    Your blog hasn’t dismissed my doubts. You show an increase at investments in new energy, but European models have shown disappointments with overall output. I have seen many reports that show California’s pay far more per capita than the quote you used.