Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future

Mon, 2011-07-11 15:33

America’s energy supply is between a rock and a hard place. Or perhaps between a lump of coal and a solar panel.

High gas prices are pummeling families already struggling with a crippled economy. Rising energy costs are hurting businesses bottom lines and a continued dependence on foreign oil complicates relations with an unstable Middle East. However, to take advantage of cost-effective clean energy technologies we need more financial support. To this point, political inertia has stunted technology growth.

Until now.

Enter The Blueprint for the Future
To take steps towards creating a secure energy future, the Obama Administration released the President’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, which outlined a three-part strategy to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil. The Blueprint’s three-part strategy is to:

1. Develop and secure America’s energy supplies
2. Provide consumers with choices to reduce costs and save energy
3. Innovate our way to a clean energy future, with the Federal Government leading by example

Let’s take a look at these goals individually.

Develop Clean Energy Supplies
Federal and private spending on clean energy research and development remains significantly lower than is necessary to achieve and economically viable clean energy future. The Blueprint asserts that, “We need to deploy American assets, innovation, and technology so that we can safely and responsibly develop more energy here at home and be a leader in the global energy economy.” Further, developing reliable and safe energy supplies is integral to insuring that events like the Deepwater Horizon disaster do not repeat themselves.

Increase Consumer Choice
Transportation is the second costliest expense for most American households, and it’s responsible for more than 70% of our petroleum consumption. The President is calling to raise average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. This will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles covered. Further, the Obama Administration is calling to have over 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

To cut energy bills in the home and business, the Obama Administration is calling for more innovative and energy efficient building standards. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so the Obama Administration is supporting a variety of programs to increase building efficiency. The efforts of the Recovery Act have already weatherized over 335, 000 homes and helped lower-income Americans significantly reduce their energy bills. The Administration will continue to support HOMESTAR for residential building efficiency and the Better Buildings Initiative to support commercial building efficiency. This means that we will see a marked increase in the need for skilled energy auditors, weatherization professionals and alternative technology technicians. Continuing education institutions like Everblue help train the workforce of tomorrow in these important job skills.

Harness America’s Clean Energy Potential
America is well positioned to supply every home and business in the country with affordable, reliable clean energy. Between the wind energy potential in the Great Plains, the biomass capabilities of the southeast and the solar hotbed in the southwest, America has huge natural potential that we must take advantage of. There is no reason we can’t lead the world.

The Obama Administration is calling for a Sunshot through federal and private investments that will be this generation’s shot at the moon. This underscores the idea that only through the same kind of large-scale investment that got America to the moon will we achieve a clean energy future. These types of game changing innovations - a battery that will take a car 300 miles on a single charge or a way to turn sunlight into fuel like gasoline – will power the future.

Under the auspices of The Recovery Act, the Administration created the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for the first time ever, a program that helps projects move from idea to implementation. It helps supports the Department of the Interior’s current expanded efforts to issue utility-scale permits for a total of 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy generated from new projects located on public lands and offshore waters.

The Bottom Line
The Obama Administration is putting federal support behind a clean energy future. This will help spur innovative R&D, private investment and consumer buy-in and lead our country to a more economical, more secure and more sustainable future. This will also increase the need for skilled professionals to design, install and maintain these new energy systems.

Visit our Course Catalog or Course Locations page for more information about acquiring the necessary skills to be a player in the new energy economy.

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