The Growth of Renewable Energy

Posted by Reno Harnish
July 31, 2009

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment and Science Reno Harnish speaks about the growth of renewable energy.

We went to Sharm el-Sheikh at the explicit instructions of Secretary Clinton. She wanted us to join the International Renewable Energy Agency. This is at the heart, really, of President Obama’s policy for clean energy, clean tech, clean jobs. And he has devoted himself to this. As you remember, $61 billion worth of programs, grants and guarantees were in the stimulus package. And he’s pledged 150 billion in revenues over the next ten years to speed the growth of renewable energy. So the Secretary was looking at the President and saying, this is it, this is what the President wants.

Secondly, renewable energy is going to be key to climate change. It’s not the only answer. We’ve got to look at low carbon growth in many other sectors. But renewable energy is no carbon. And the extent we can bring it on faster, the better impact we’ll have on getting to a future that is a good one.

Let me say one last thing. This is also not just about climate change, but it’s also about energy security for developing countries. The developing countries are enormously important, and they don’t have the grids that we have in Europe or the United States. And renewable energy can help them as well.

I want to say also, by the way, going back on what I just said, that when we were there at Sharm el-Sheikh, we made the big pitch to have the center of this, the site, the headquarters of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, in the developing countries. And we were very happy that the group decided to have it – the 136 nations decided to have it in the United Arab Emirates. This can’t just be about Europe or North America. Renewable energies are going to speak to the developing world and their needs. And so this – it’s perfectly appropriate that the site ended up in United Arab Emirates.

You asked about where we’re going with this. Well, that’s the answer. We want the International Renewable Energy Agency to be bringing technical assistance to the developing countries so that they can more easily receive renewable energy. We want to look at laws – are they encouraging direct investment. We want to look at barriers – are there so many encouragements for some of the traditional fuels like coal, that they’re blocking out the emergence of renewable energy.

That’s where we want the International Renewable Energy Agency to go. And we think it can be an important force in spreading renewable energy around the world.

Before us is the hard work of making a broad agreement on climate change. In the meantime, we’re forging ahead with the International Renewable Energy Agency, which helps us to get at the problem of reducing greenhouse gases.

And we’re doing other things. Our team here at the State Department has a program, a series of programs to bring clean technology to the developing countries. We’re really focused on China and India, for example, because China has recently surpassed us as a greenhouse gas emitter. So the answer is that the big agreement is still out in front of us. But in the meantime, we’re not just sitting still. We’re doing things like entering into the work of the International Renewable Energy Agency, and doing direct development programs for clean technology.

Comments

Comments

Ronnie
|
Oregon, USA
July 31, 2009

Ronnie in Oregon writes:

Grey/Stormwater CRADA a water diversion community bond project ( Tax EXEMPT)

Cathie M.
|
California, USA
July 31, 2009

Cathie M. in California writes:

Hello,

I desire to apply for a grant to start and operate a renewable engery program which will create jobs as well as help our planet. I have a proposal.

Thank you

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
July 31, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

It seems we went through the same thing in the early 70s and everyone dropped the ball...put a lot of money out to the general public for home improvements and capital which was wasted by corporate interest for non developmental solutions...such as: Light energy sources were developed by using Plexiglas, never used...commercial air conditioning development which was one third the cost...never used; many patients simply purchased by larger corporations.

Where all the developments already paid for by the tax payer thirty years ago?????

What is to keep that from happening again? What laws are in place beyond the auto industry for applied standards?

Without laws which will maintain applied use in all levels of industry and home use, what is the realistic result expectation?

How to keep a Capitalistic and Entrepreneurship system intact without monopolistic corporate greed is the real issue...for many of the Nations and Worlds problems....

Is the protection by governing laws of One Planet for All People really socialism?

Good luck ...

Susan
|
Florida, USA
July 31, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee -- "corporate greed is the real issue"... How right you are. Will we, as a country, be able to eradicate corporate fascism? I am beginning to believe that our own government is afraid of the power that these corporations have. Obviously, it is all about money. I saw on the news tonight that the very banks that failed, and were bailed out, went ahead and gave out huge bonuses to the very individuals who caused the mess we are in. When will this change? Is it already too late? I hope not.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
August 1, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

@ Susan: Putin said that our government was not to blame, but, the economic system as it exist.

Doug Casey claims that our Government is now Fascist; but, that could have been said when the Teamsters Union was taken over back in the 80s as well. IT IS GOVERNMENTS responsibly to protect and serve its citizens but as has gone away from the moir's of a democracy, it too has moved away from business ethics.

In the 70s there were no less than four patents which altered carburetion of petrol automobiles as existed that produced over 40 mpg... The oil companies purchased the rights and then simply traded it between them after six to seven years until fuel injection became the standard. What was ethical about that? Nothing has or will be done. Audi now has a system which can get close to 60 mpg out of a gallon of petrol, but won't produce the vehicle for whatever reason...so, even on the international level there are control elements which we know little of.

I believe the problem is we have to accept there needs to be control elements to hold it all together economically and they are not necessarily evil as well as Governments haveing to abide to keep money moving. The real problem came when elements as China and Russia changed the game...

We don't know everything, but, the truth is: America and the world have moved beyond Ethics and morals. Perhaps that is the problem.

In a business ethics session in college back as far as 1969, we were told the first rule was to ---Throw out you bible or whatever your beliefs were---and that the concept of wearing a tie was a representation of Judas. Who'd have thunk it was true? We set up a doctrine of self values to begin with. We are all to blame.

On the other end: Congress did put a salary cap on, but, not a bonus cap at the time. So, when they hired or lowered pay, they simply used the bonus to evade legal issues. With the amount of legal expertise Congress has to draw on, you would think something that simple would have been picked up by at least one member of Congress or the Senate -- wouldn't you? Was Ross Perrot was right again, do something without doing anything...or so it seems.

How strong is Corporate America? Remember President Ford? He found a simple solution to inflation: Freeze everything. The corporations and members of his own party called it Anarchy, Fascism etc. and they repaid him by making him seem a fool. He was a very intelligent individual and a lot of households would have been in the position they are in today were it not for him standing up. Yet when you think of President Ford do you recognize that he helped millions of Americans keep their homes and jobs? Now, we have another President trying to do something and it is the same story it seems.

I hope you do realize, that for all our faults, we do have a say and the concept of divide to conquer does not help us to a solution; there are good, simple solutions; but, apparently not enough representatives who will take the risk.

Send your ideas and concerns to your Congressmen and Senators at all levels. It is your right and they need your imput. All too often a problem does not reach their desk because of our apathy...what do we do about it as citizens? Both Bush and Obama have called for all of us to get involved...

Michael
|
California, USA
August 1, 2009

Michael in California writes:

Congratulations on your work to promote renewable energy. It is finally a step in the right direction. However, there continues to be mis-alignment between our foreign and domestic policies on this front.

Congress and President Obama have continued to support Green Jobs and Tackling global climate change.

Yet, despite your efforts for renewable energy, our foreign policy money (the money, not the talk) continues to pour into old, carbon-intensive industries. Look at this list of funded projects:
http://www.opic.gov/projects/current-opic-projects

If we really wanted to build a Green Economy, that foreign policy money would go to building on our strengths which include Renewable Energy Technical Services, some Manufacturing, and Financial Products -- where the U.S. IS competitive. Let's build from what we have, and say goodbye to all those old polluting industries which got the cash in the past.

.

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