Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, the only Nobel Prize winner in the Obama Administration’s cabinet, has developed a strong optimism about solar energy’s potential to be a major player in the U.S. and global electrical system. The “Sun Shot” is one of the core innovation efforts aiming to accelerate solar power’s cost curves so that, by the end of the decade, solar will be comparable to grid electricity prices such that it truly, even without accounting for pollution’s external costs, becomes the ‘preferred’ electricity option for even the most penny-pinching American.
When questioned, today, at the Washington Post’s Smart Energy conference about his coming to Washington with a passion about the need for action to mitigate Climate Change, Chu commented
[Our progress and action] could be faster … .but we are moving …
It is only a matter of time until solar hits parity. The only question is whether it is this decade or a decade and a half in this country.
The basic target of SunShot: drive the equation so that solar is cost-advantaged to other new power option before the end of this decade. And, with that occurring, will foster not just reduced carbon emissions but also create vibrant economic activity in the nation with solar installations and in the export of solar products (if the Chinese subsidies of its solar industries doesn’t drive out all U.S. manufacturing.
NOTE: Credit to the moderator for asking serious and tough questions. Chu was pushed, hard, re Keystone XL. The moderator asked, in a series of three ever more probbing questions, to get Chu’s opinion of the pipeline. His responses were, after emphasizing mileage standards as way to reduce US dependence on foreign oil:
- On Keystone, let me beg off on that. This is a decision that is with the State Department.
- Let me just say, that I expected to be consulted.
- This is a very important decision and I won’t say what my advice will be.