Issue of the Day: Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Policy Highlighted
Project America - Issue of the Day: Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Policy Highlighted

Published Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

In the inaugural address, President Obama called for a new energy policy. “Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet…We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories… We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.”

About 13% of our primary energy comes from renewable sources, with most of this coming from traditional biomass like wood-burning.  Hydro power is the next largest source, providing 2-3%, and modern technologies like geothermal, wind, solar, and marine energy together produce less than 1% of total world energy demand.   The technical potential for their use is very large.  However, without the available spending on an improved infrastructure—as President Obama suggests—the efforts to increase the use of renewable sources will be impacted by an aging grid, not designed to support such sources.   Therefore, the President wants to spend out of his proposed stimulus package “$150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of bio-fuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial scale renewable energy, invest in low emissions coal plants, and begin transition to a new digital electricity grid.

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