Tuesday, January 25, 2011

President’s Home State Can Provide Clean Energy Path; 80% Green Power Goal Will Need Ocean Component

“Race to the top” may be a national education program, but for truly audacious goal-setting, look no further than the President’s national goal to achieve 80-percent reliance on clean energy by 2035!

Until now, the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative’s goal of achieving 40 percent from renewable energy by 2030 had seemed aggressive. As of this evening, it's passé.

Hawaii’s favorite son has seen that goal and upped the bet by going all in! Here’s how he stated his renewable energy challenge in his State of the Union Address and how he plans to pay for it:

That's what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time.

At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they're using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if – I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources.

Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all -- and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Back to the Sea

Mr. Obama’s far-reaching goal surely fires the imagination and fosters hope for a nation that can function without reliance on climate-damaging, economy-damaging oil.

Hawaii is poised to fire the nation’s collective imagination with the innovations we can initiate and achieve here in the Aloha State. The President didn’t mention it, but ocean thermal energy conversion – OTEC, what we’re calling Big Ocean – can be a 21st century technological breakthrough to change the energy game.

Can we truly achieve Mr. Obama’s 80-percent goal without a game-changing energy breakthrough? Can it happen only with intermittent wind and solar farms backed up with batteries, biofuels and nuclear power? Can his quantum leap be achieved without tapping the inexhaustible stores of solar energy in the world’s oceans?

For the sake of argument, we’ll suggest it can’t happen with existing technologies. It will take breakthroughs in one particular technology – ocean energy technology – and if it’s to happen, there’s no better place for it to begin than Hawaii.

Mr. President, look to your home state. Support efforts to fund development of a pilot plant in Hawaii to demonstrate OTEC’s viability to replace oil-fired electrical generation in Hawaii within a decade!

By the time the nation reaches your 80-percent goal, let’s ensure that Hawaii will already be solidly locked in at 100 percent!

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