President Obama gives a speech outlining his plan for clean energy. The California assembly passes an increased renewable energy standard. And the debate rages on about the safety of nuclear energy.
President Obama Gives Energy Speech
President Obama spoke at Georgetown University, outlining his plan for America’s energy security including ideas to reduce the dependence on foreign oil and innovating alternative energy solutions. In 2008, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day, according to White House figures. Obama hopes that by 2025 his policies will help cut that by one-third. He mentioned his initiatives to activate unused oil and gas leases both on and offshore. The President also wants to replace oil with natural gas in production facilities and recognizes the need for further research and development in the area. The key to implementing any clean energy solutions, according to Obama, is innovation, investment and research. To achieve his goals and encourage greener habits, the President is approving tax breaks for EV drivers, continuing solar incentives and attempting to create an example with a green federal fleet.
California Assembly Passes Increased Clean Energy Standard
California’s Assembly passed the Renewable Portfolio Standard bill penned by Senator. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. The measure is now awaiting Governor Brown’s signature. Once in place, it will increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 33 percent by the end of the decade. The legislation has been tossed back and forth for the past two sessions but Simitian is hopeful that his bill will finally be passed. This legislation is another way California is ahead of the game in terms of clean energy as compared to the rest of the country.
EV Motorcade Driving through DC
The Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) has organized a motorcade of battery, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles that will drive through Washington DC on April 19. The parade will launch Earth Week as a part of the EDTA’s conference on electric cars. Dubbed the “Innovation motorcade,” the event will be kicked-off by Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the following day will be a speech by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Some companies that are involved include BMW, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesla Motors and Audi.
Prince William Co. Schools Continuing Energy Project
Pepco Energy Services will complete a $1.7 million energy savings performance contract for Prince William County Schools of Virginia. Pepco was previously awarded a $2.4 contract in 2010 that was completed successfully. This new project will further Pepco’s work in the schools to include additional energy infrastructure upgrades that will be completed in October 2011. Energy conservations methods such as retrofitting and replacing lighting and water fixtures, installing more energy-efficient boilers are just some of the upgrades the company will bring. The project will increase energy savings to roughly $3.6 million over a 10-year-term, reducing energy and water usage by 24 and 30 percent, respectively.
Nuclear Energy Safety Ongoing Debate
The disaster in Japan has renewed the debate over nuclear energy, particularly the safety of nuclear power plants. However, advocates of using nuclear energy contend that the advantages of clean energy far outweigh the consequences of a disaster. Such circumstances are rare and safety precautions are typically followed in the handling of civilian nuclear energy. Moreover, compared to coal-generated power, nuclear power has not caused significant quantitative damages in the form of human lives. Risks from reactor accidents are based on probability and very rare—they would cause on average 1,000 deaths. Comparatively, coal burning causes an average of 10,000 deaths per year, every year regardless of accidents or probable risk. The debate continues as lawmakers struggle to devise new strategies to deal with energy.
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