Renewable Energy Key To Future

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This article appeared in OTE’s November 2016 newsletter. Go here to read the full newsletter.

By Jeremy P. Feakins, OTE's Chairman and CEO

little girl holding globe

 

We can be a renewable energy leader!

The United States of America has been a world first on many fronts – first light bulb, first telephone, first man on the moon, first polio vaccine – even the first washing machine!

 

astronaut on the moon

So why aren’t we first when it comes to renewable energy?

The issue as I see it is that the United States has too much energy in the form of coal, natural gas, and oil reserves.

Power generation is a leading cause of air pollution and the single largest source of U.S. global warming emissions. As the Union of Concerned Scientists report: Coal is the worst offender, a dirty energy source that produces less than half our electricity but nearly 80 percent of all power plant carbon emissions.

 

 

And new extraction technologies for fossil fuels such as fracking, are suspected of causing health problems and environmental damage when extracted and transported. Yet, we continue as if nothing is wrong.

clearcuttingHumanity is overusing resources. We pump more carbon dioxide into the air than our planet can adsorb. We over-fish. We chop down more and more trees.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reported global temperatures in July had been the hottest for any month since record-keeping began in 1880, and that the first seven months of 2015 had also been the hottest such period ever. Heat waves on several continents this summer have killed thousands of people.

Climate change not only aggravates wildfires, but scientists say that the millions of burning acres are in turn worsening climate change.

Our Government, Scientists, Newspapers and Television tell us that continued use of fossil fuels is the single largest contributor to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  The Pope has implored Catholics not to ignore climate change.

We simply cannot continue to indefinitely screw up the atmosphere without risking even more serious global environmental change than we have already done.

But there is hope.

President Obama recently announced a clean power plan saying:  “We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged. The effects of climate change are already being felt across the nation. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital. Extreme weather events – from more severe droughts and wildfires in the West to record heat waves – and sea level rise are hitting communities across the country. In fact, 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the first 15 years of this century and last year was the warmest year ever. The most vulnerable among us – including children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease, and people living in poverty – are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Taking action now is critical”.

Onshore OTEC PlantLast year, Google, 223 other businesses (including Kellogg’s, Starbucks, IKEA, Nike, Levi Strauss, Mars, and Nestlé ), 14 attorneys general, 11 U.S. senators, and more than 25 environmental, public health and clean energy organizations all told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that renewable energy should play a strong role in reducing emissions from existing power plants.

Renewables are finally becoming a globally significant source of power, according to a United Nations Environment Program report released in March by Frankfurt School UNEP Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Renewables also caught the eyes of investors: in 2014, energy investment in rose 17% over the previous year, surging to $270bn, according to the report.

For example, an Ocean Thermal Energy system, built in the 1990’s at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, was recently restarted and connected to the US grid in Hawaii.

And a huge solar energy system planned for the Mojave Desert will power about 180,000 homes. Solar is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuels.

 

 

 

Renewable energy technology such as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion is advancing.  With it, opportunities are presented in terms of affordable, clean energy and water for drinking, fish-farming and aquaculture and a more environmentally responsible future.

To create a cleaner, safer, and healthier energy future, it’s time to choose renewables for a cleaner, healthy planet.

 

And if we so choose, the United States of America can lead the way.

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Jeremy P. Feakins is OTE’s Chairman and CEO. For more of his thoughts on entrepreneurship, environmentalism, and more, read his blog, or check him out on Twitter or Facebook.


This article appeared in OTE’s November 2016 newsletter. Go here to read the full newsletter.