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Throw off complacency: 100% renewable electricity

July 17th, 2008 · No Comments

Al Gore has set a challenge: 100% clean electricity, 100%! Get us (the US, and eventually, all the globe) off coal. And, determine to do this within a decade.

People are going to scream that this is impossible. They will be wrong.  This is possible, difficult to do in the timeline perhaps, but possible.

They will, as with the very mediocre Associated Press story, focus on the cost to buy the infrastructure, rather the overall benefits and the cost to own a renewable electrical system.  By doing so, they will be wrong. This is doing a cost-benefit discussion with only mentioning cost, and not the benefits, the huge benefits from electricity to reduced pollution to improved health to improved security. 

Al Gore is setting a target. Do I agree with 100% of his words? No, not necessarily.

But, let us think about something for a second. We should think of objectives at two levels:

  • Objective: What is what we would really like to have, the ultimate level of capability desired.
  • Threshhold: What is a minimal acceptable level of capability and achievement that is acceptable.

    Al Gore has sent a target, an objective target: 100% renewable electricity in a decade. This is possible, even though a very serious objective level target. We should have this objective in our mind. It is achievable, even if with difficult.

    We should set the objective target but we should also understand what is the absolute minimum threshhold target for renewable electricity generation?

    We might quibble about the dates and exact priorities, but at the core:

    This is possible
    This is necessary
    This is security, economy, health, opportunity … rolled into one.
    Americans should remember that we are, together, Bob the Builder:  “Can we do it?  Yes, WE CAN!”

    NOTE: This speech will be discussed widely in the days, weeks, months ahead. Wonkroom had a good brief heads-up discussion.

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    Tags: Al Gore · carbon dioxide · carbon neutral · Energy · environmental · government energy policy · green · politics · pollution · renewable electricity standards · renewable energy