January 27, 2007

The Renewable Path to Energy Security

Mixing environmental concern with American "can-do" attitude, the Worldwatch Insitute and Center for American Progress have teamed up to provide a free, online 40-page that provides chapters titled:
• a vision for a more secure and prosperous America
• building a new energy economy
• a cleaner, healthier America
• resources and technology
• American energy policy agenda

As their press release announces:

The American Energy Initiative is a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the Center for American Progress focused on educating and inspiring the public and policymakers on the importance of renewable energy to the economic, environmental and national security of the United States. The report, American Energy: The Renewable Path to Energy Security, demonstrates the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency and presents a practical policy agenda for achieving them.

The chapters on Biofuels and Biopower are particularly relevant to the interests of frequent visitors to this blog. There is a blind eye, however, to urban waste as a biomass feedstock. This misses a major opportunity to effect industrial and urban change in our society.

Rather than quote excerpts, here are a few harvested charts and snippets to encourage you to download and read the report:

American Energy: The Renewable Path to Energy Security
by the Worldwatch Institute and the Center for American Progress

The time is ripe for a strong national commitment to enacting new policies at the federal, state, and local levels that will allow the United States to become a world leader in building a 21st century energy system.Meeting that challenge will require concerted action by governments, businesses, and citizens across our nation.

“Renewable energy is one of the great stories of recent years, and it’s going to be a bigger story in the years to come.”
—George W. Bush, President of the United States

“This field of greentech could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”
—John Doerr, venture capitalist for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

“The Stone Age did not end for lack of stones, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.”
—Sheikh Yamani, former Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
—Alan Kay, pioneer of personal computing

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PoliticaObscura said...

No serious discussion of nuclear?

Sadly, makes the report a joke.

C. Scott Miller said...

I don't think nuclear solutions are within the scope of what these two organizations feel are responsible, long term solutions - primarily because nuclear is not renewable.

Domestic nuclear deployments certainly would alleviate some of the near-term grid energy needs of the country. But there are several domestic issues that should curb anyone's enthusiasm for this solution: 1) the amount of energy and cement (a major source of greenhouse gases) it takes to build the plants, 2) the disposal of nuclear waste, and 3) the public's apoplectic resistance to the word "nuclear". How many half-built plants can we afford to scuttle?

The geo-political problem is far more compromising. Any solution that cannot be pursued globally and is not from renewable sources means that developed nations will end up competing for their non-grid energy (mostly oil reserves within the next few decades) and conditions will worsen in developing nations.
Should we now add peak-uranium to the stockpile of dwindling resources?

Also, we are justifiably concerned about the emergence of just two nuclear power countries on the global political scene. There is always that problem with nuclear energy - evolution into nuclear arms within the countries that build nuclear plants. How many "mice who roar" can we co-exist with?

You might want to research ex-CIA director James Woolsey on the subject of the energy crisis and national security. He supports cellulosic ethanol and flex-fuel PHEV's as immediate steps we should focus attention on. Start with James Woolsey on Biomass Conversion and PHEVs.

Lars H. F. said...

Dear C. Scott, I am clearly impressed by your expertise. The Atlantic Community features an article today in which the Heritage Foundation proposes five key steps to strenghten US energy security. It is quite short compared to the report which you discuss in length here, but you are more than welcome to share your knowledge and comment on Butler and Holmes' proposals. You can find the article here:

More at the Atlantic Community.

C. Scott Miller said...

Thanks for the link. I left a comment to the online article you referenced.