In an effort to address climate change, President Obama is setting the United States on the path towards a clean energy economy.
Recently, President Obama announced the country’s plan to drive alternative energy innovation and accelerate the transition to clean energy. Growing on the already established ENERGY STAR program, the executive actions focus on implementing clean, efficient, and affordable energy technologies across multiple sectors of the United States.
- More funding for energy projects utilizing innovative technology, including an additional $1 billion
- A total of 11 projects across the country will receive $24 million for projects that have the potential to double the amount of energy a solar panel can produce
- Bringing a 485-megawatt photovoltaic facility to produce enough energy to power more than 145,000 homes
- PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy) project to make alternative energy more easily accessible for single-families
The ultimate goal with the establishment of the plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emission by at least 26 percent by 2025. Additionally, the hope is to expand beyond the most common types of alternative energy—including hydro and solar—and begin integrating other clean energy sources into the grid.
Climate Change Facts
Climate change has become a very pressing, yet often ignored, issue in today’s society. The consensus of literature on the topic reveals that not only our future, but also our current climate is feeling the effects of emissions from human activities.
Impacts from climate change include everything from the alteration of ecosystems to consequences for human well-being. When looking at the facts on climate change, it is clear that something must be done.
- Carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in 650,000 years
- Variable rainfall patterns will further compromise water supplies
- Sea level rise as a result of climate change will increase the risk of coastal flooding for millions to hundred of millions of people around the world
- The arctic region may have the first ice-free summer by 2040
- Climate change costs the United States over $100 billion each year
Climate Change Beyond the United States
Other countries around the world are also making the implementation of a clean energy grid a priority. In Germany, the Energiewende initiative is on track to achieve 30 percent of all the country’s power drawn from renewable energy sources in the near future.
Switzerland is also fighting the good fight, looking to supply 20 percent of the country’s electricity demand through photovoltaic systems by 2050.
Spain and India have also shifted a substantial of energy needs toward wind. With that, the technology has advanced at a rapid pace. Between 2000 and 2012, wind energy increased over 16 times to more than 282,000 MW of operating wind capacity.
What Does the Future Look Like?
While some progress is being made in the energy sector, there is still much work to come. Commercialization of these technologies must go hand in hand with scientific innovation and political support.
“We have pretty much all the technologies we need. We certainly need to be able to upscale them and get things cheaper. The issue is how do you replace an essentially established infrastructure with a new one? What’s your motivation for changing it? You need political support,” said John A. Turner of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.Renewable Energy World]