Top 10 reasons for USA to strive for Global Leadership in SEI via massive scaling

Here are our top 10 reasons for the US to become the global leader in Sustainable Energy Initiatives (SEI). What are your top 3?

  1. USA is the only nation on earth that has the economic power to implement massive scale sustainable energy initiatives needed to become a significant part of the energy generation in the near future. Others like Japan and Germany have blazed through the initial laps and now USA needs to take over and run the last lap… and win for everyone.
  2. USA is the only nation on earth who has available land mass and the ingenuity to implement massive scale sustainable energy initiatives needed to make it a significant part of the energy generation over the near future.
  3. The current economic crisis of gigantic proportions also presents us with the greatest opportunity of our lifetime to reshape our economies in a way that makes USA the global leader. We will lead by example.
  4. The vast amounts of investments being made by the Federal Government this year to revive the economy can be leveraged to reshape the energy usage in residential, commercial and industrial entities to align to new energy economy initiatives.
  5. The new energy economy based on sustainable energy will be the next vibrant economic engine of growth that will create millions of jobs for our country and no other country can take most of these jobs away!
  6. Massive scaling and intense competition will derive economies of scale that will rapidly bring the prices down to below what we pay for fossil fuel based energy within next six to eight years. The investment we make now will be paid back many times over by 2030. It is time to change our mindset that sustainable energy means a perpetual “big whopping tax” to the people.
  7. Massive scaling of sustainable energy initiatives will tackle climate change issues and sidetrack the raging debates about why, when and how we tackle the climate change problem.
  8. It’s about time we listened to Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb (1847–1931) ‘I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ’til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.’
  9. In the absence of massive scaling, sustainable energy initiatives will remain significantly more costly to deploy and will always be viewed as a “tax” we have to pay and make us less competitive compared to developing countries that are taking our jobs away. It’s like throwing a pebble in the ocean and expecting to make a difference.
  10. Failure to capitalize on the current economic crisis to become the Global Leader in Sustainable Energy Initiatives has serious detrimental effects to overall positioning of Global Leadership of USA in not only energy arena but will also permeate to other areas of leadership. Over time our future generations will pay the price if we fail to act now.

For an indepth understanding, read our Strategy (1.4mb PDF)

  

16 Comments

  1. I would like to add that going with sustainable energy scaling will help with society’s survival (not just the threats of climate change). A book that I recommend is “The End of the Long Summer” by Dianne Dumanoski which helps detail some of this.

  2. Has anyone seen a compreshensive plan to get 60% or more energy from renewable energy by 2030? the only way to do it is have disruptive scaling of solar wind nuclear and other low carbon footprint energy and find ways to do so at price points that can still attract a vibrant economy.

  3. One key word that Probir always states in his blog entriess should be at the forefront of this discussion, and that is MASSIVE.

    One such people/government/policy example of working together is the upcoming requirement of the major utilities of CA toward 33% renewable energy in a finite timeframe. They make the calculations and see that they needed several ~500 MW increments at a time to get even close to this, and thus the “new CA goldrush” underway in larger PV/CST/CPV plants in the approval and financing pipeline.

    The California Solar Initiative was nice to start to see a few new houses with some panels on them for the first time, but Probir is correct that a people/government alliance to spur MASSIVE inployment is what must happen.

  4. I would add to the comments of other contributors that all 10 reason
    have a great deal of merit. The past two years have provided evidence that we, the USA, must act dramatically and must act now
    to take a leadership role in the develolpment and implementation
    of energy initiatives which lead us away from being held hostage
    to dependance on fossil fuels. We have seen what this dependence
    has done to the US economy. We have a great opportunity to
    create a new economic climate centered around sustainable energy.
    Colorado and the West are in a very unique position to make this happen with our resources, the desire of the people of the area
    and the history of being able to achieve great results. Alternative
    energy has been identified for at least the past three years as
    one of the major industries which will lead to our economic growth.

  5. Sarah,
    I really like your approach and reasoning. At the end of the day, do we want to be global leaders or followers in the new energy economy era? For most of us the answer is very clear, we want to be leaders and we want to lead by example.

    Here is my shared vision:
    Well before the century is over, we would be generating clean energy much cheaper than fossil fuels and we will generate as much energy as we need to create a vibrant economy and we will use the energy to clean up our environment instead of polluting it. We will leave a better world for our future generations to enjoy.

    The sole purpose of invVEST will be to deliver this vision leveraging collaborative virtual teams that will help massively scale Sustainable Energy Initiatives.

  6. One hundred years from now when historians write about the age of fossil fuels and how the world transitioned out of it into the sustainable age, will they write about a world that embraced its future and eagerly worked to make that transition, or will they write about a world that stubbornly tried to delay that transition? If we compare the world one hundred years ago with today’s world; if we think of the electric grid, the highway systems, and extensive telecommunications infrastructures that were built, is there any question about whether we can transition to renewable energy in the next hundred years? It’s not a matter of whether it will happen, it is a matter of when; and whether it is done in an orderly fashion by intentionally introducing renewable energy technologies, or in a disorderly fashion because fossil fuel costs go so high as to trigger a prolonged recession. All ten reasons are good reasons, but I think the choice can be put very simply: We can choose to be leaders or followers. We can choose to use our vast resources to lead the world to sustainability, or we can choose to slow the rest of the world’s transition by being the biggest consumer of energy and the last to acknowledge the inevitable need to change.

  7. For me personally the jumping off point for this project is climate change and unsustainable uses of resources, or reason 7. We frequently hear that U.S. has around 5% of world population and while consuming 25% of the world’s energy (while contributing 22% to world productivity). Of course this disproportion has produced some of the world’s greatest innovations and technologies, but it has also produced damage, much of which cannot be seen in the short-term. For this reason I believe emerging as a leader in Sustainable Energy Initiatives can greatly improve the United States’ international credibility. As one of the few countries to not ratify the Kyoto Protocol and as the largest carbon-emitting country per capita, it is our duty to seize the initiative on the international stage not only in sustainability efforts but also in renewable energy.

    To me the climate change issue comes first and foremost. But the domestic economic argument is equally compelling and interwoven.Current economic conditions present an opportunity to provide a lifeline to a sluggish economy and high unemployment rates. There specifics can be debated but the emergence of a multi-trillion dollar industry will have obvious powerful effects for years to come. I agree with John who pointed out how many businesses and industries will emerge and employ millions in support of the revamped energy industry, because it’s going to come down to economics. The U.S. argument against Kyoto was that we didn’t want to ratify a document that could stall our economy and force us to lose economic momentum to China; now we have the opportunity to follow the principles of Kyoto, jump start our economy and make a serious invest in our country’s image. And with our President behind the idea the stage is set.

    With the government tax credits and subsidies from the stimulus package and other legislation, the moment is ripe with possibility. It’s great to see InvVest’s strong vision to bring all parties together to tackle the massive scale of what will be a world-changing project.

  8. The initial listing items #2 and #5 are my main reasons to believe this is a wonderful economic opportunity for all of the US states.

    The #2 “USA is the only nation on earth who has available land mass and the ingenuity to implement massive scale sustainable energy initiatives needed to make it a significant part of the energy generation over the near future” shows up so dramatically in solar sunshine maps vs. a country like Germany. I believe that last year Germany now has more people working in solar than in the auto industry for the first time.

    The #5 proposal “The new energy economy based on sustainable energy will be the next vibrant economic engine of growth that will create millions of jobs for our country and no other country can take most of these jobs away! ” points out that the installations must be done in the US and totally new buisinesses like “solar cleaning services” will develop to employ millions of US citizens. In addition if the German model holds here each small town will have a “total service solar supply” store using the advantages of knowing all of the people in town.

    A key is that the solar TECHNOLOGY needed to produce energy close to “grid parity” is well on the way to happening. What is needed is state policy to help enable this massive employer of people and provide more energy dependence from fossel fuel generated electricity.

  9. Elizabeth,
    I cannot agree with you more, my wife & I came to this country in the mid ’80’s because we believe it is the greatest country on earth and if you work hard and are innovative, the opportunities are infinite. I strongly believe this country is still the best place on earth, but if you travel around the world, the very thnigs you talk about, other countries are getting stronger in many areas and the will to work harder and not take their wealth for granted is more prevalent in many other countries.

    For us, this is our country, this is where our kids are going to grow up and and their kids are going to grow up and we want to do everything we can to make sure we hand over a vibrant economy and make it a a better place to live. Which is why we need to make this massive groundswell among people living in this country to have a comprehensive vision and have very targeted deployment plans in each area of Sustainable Energy Initiatives we choose to focus on. invVEST will enable all of us to work together to be leaders again in Sustainable Energy Initiatives (SEI). Energy is going to be a 10 Trillion $ economy globally, and will be the key economy driver in the future. If we do not lead the world to shift to Sustainable Energy where we have an abundance of resources compared to any other country in the world, we will lose our overall global leadership position very soon, it is as simple as that.

    If we can lead the world and show that Sustainable Energy can be massively scaled and can be produced at lower cost that the tradional fossil fuels it replaces in the near future, we wil not only have the most vibrant economy in the world but we will also mitigate all the GHG and climate issues as the whole world embraces SEI.

    So, Elizabeth and all others who will see this note, you cannot just be curious bystanders, we all need to work together to make this happen. invVEST has provided a framework for comprehensive Vision and Strategy document, and the realization of the vision will depend on all of us to work together. This initiatvie is much bigger than any one of us or any organization (public or private) no matter how big or bright we are. Each of us have a pivotal role to play to make this happen.

  10. I agree with the desire and need for us to be the leaders, time will tell if we actually will do so. I am interested in seeing whether our strongly held belief that we have greater ingenuity than other countries remains true. As an international business person, I have seen this time and again – but I also have seen our education systems slipping while others get stronger, I have seen our thinking get silo’ed into niche perspectives, and I have also seen a greater emphasis on flexibility and creativity from other cultures. So I am curious to see if we remain at the forefront of ingenuity.

  11. FYI, for those who don’t know, the National Academy of Sciences is holding a meeting on “America’s Climate Choices” on Mon/Tues Mar 30/31. It is being webcast. Here’s a link to the America’s Climate Choice info.
    http://americasclimatechoices.org/?utm_medium=etmail&utm_source=National%20Academies%20Press&utm_campaign=New+from+NAP+3.24.09&utm_content=Downloader&utm_term=

    Note that I’ve also been told that there will be a workshop on geoengineering on Jun 15/16; don’t have any more details on that.

  12. Ken I agree with you completely. What we are focused to do here is to tap the disparate knowledge pools to see how we can massively scale Sustainable Energy Initiatives rapidly and enable USA to regain global leadership in this area.

    While we are convinced that massive scaling of Solar Energy Initiative and creating a balance between cooperation and competition (BrandenBerger and Nalbuff did some serous work in this area and wrote a bestseller called Coopetition) will bring the prices down below the fossil fuel it replaces, we are equally sure there are other equally viable technologies like wind, geo thermal, tidal waves, nuclear that need to be looked at to see if it fits the sustainability energy definition.
    We also need to look at stop gap measures like April and Sol are talking about and see if it is viable and if there are ways to reduce the carbon footprint at the same time.

  13. The United States can definitely be the global leader in renewable energy.

    Our country has proven time and time again that we have the creativity and know how to accomplish anything to which we apply our minds. In past times of chaos and financial problems this country has stepped forward with innovative ideas and the ability to solve any and all issues. We step up when challenged and accomplish goals that too many may seem impossible. The spirit of America may get bruised and a little stressed but the final outcome is always one of victory.
    This country has some of the greatest Universities and learning centers in the world. Our ability to adapt and build from past experiences serves us well. While being competitive we all have learned how to grow upon past mistakes and success. Our present financial challenges have come at a perfect time when all our awakening to what maters and what does not matter. Through the multiple learning centers, Industries, and organizations of our country we have the opportunity to take strides and grow like never before.
    Our natural resources along with the knowledge pools that surround us will allow us to grow in every facet s of energy. We have been researching and developing new technologies as well as refining what we have already developed to where we are on the brink of a full shift on consciousness that will reestablish world confidence in this country.

  14. I agree with Sol Shapiro’s viewpoint, this is almost a moral obligation for us to see what we can do. The most crucial drive for Sustainable Energy may well be the energy independence it allows. Oil will not last an enternity and it is not globally uniformly distributed. Even if US tapped all our oil wells it barely puts a dent in our oil import. Don’t we need to be independent of the oil porducing nations?

    Hence our moral obligation is to find an alternative to oil. In the short term this will be costly for the nation and this is where long term planning comes in. If we take this approach it will generate jobs in the short term and cheap sustainable energy in the long term.

  15. A RATIONAL APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE (Item 7 of top 10 reasons)

    Climate change with associated sea level rise and climate disasters is being use as a wedge issue by the IPCC and the environmental community to frighten our politicians and the public to a crisis mode of activity to change our energy base. It has had much success.

    But if Dr. Hansen’s concern for a “tipping point” in the next few decades is to be taken seriously at all, then my assessment is that the world’s response has heed totally inadequate and our planet is doomed to rising ocean levels and increasing climate catastrophes.

    But we do know that there is a solution – geoengineering can put climate change on hold; and so we need to provide funds for its study. And while discussing the subject may take some of the benefit of the crisis atmosphere from our long range goals, I fear that there is a moral issue which must be faced: If we (the IPCC, scientific community and the environmental community) have a cure for a disease (climate disasters) then isn’t there a moral obligation to see that the subject is adequately evaluated? (Instead of treating it, as it has been treated, “like the crazy aunt in the attic about whom we don’t talk?”)

    Note that the National Academy of Sciences is planning a workshop on geoengineering for June 15/16 for the first time since 1992.

  16. I absolutely believe USA has to regain Global Leadership in Sustainable Energy Initiatives as the New Energy Economy is going to be the next big driver of the overall global economy for the next 30 – 100 years.
    The 3 most important factors to me are: 10, 6 & 7. 10 is most important to me because if we do not make rapid scaling of Sustainable Energy Initiative a national priority we would be giving up the overall global leadership to other countries of the world. Which means we are handing over a less prosperous economy to our very next generation in the best case scenario and there is a very high likelihood that our future generations will face rapidly declining opportunities compared to other countries who will take on the leadership role.
    6 is important because if we cannot rapidly reduce the cost of low carbon footprint Sustainable energy to below our traditional high carbon footprint fossil fuels, the world will have to pay a huge price in the form of tax for decades to come. Our in-depth research has shown that with rapid massive scaling sustainable energy can be below fossil fuel prices by 2014 -2018 time frame. The economic power and size of our economy makes us the only country in the world that can launch a massive scale Sustainable energy initiative. If we put our minds to it, similar to the “man on the moon” mission and have a comprehensive vision and deployment plans, we can do it.
    7 because there is mounting evidence that rapid climate change is accelerating due to high GHG emissions into the air, and while we can debate the probabilities of climate related disasters, if we can generate sustainable energy cheaper than fossil fuel it replaces in the near future, we bypass the debate and do not leave anything to chance.

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