Much has been made of the Green New Deal. As policy, it is beyond far-fetched. Plans to eliminate air travel in a decade, to be replaced by high-speed trains, are unrealistic. Replacing fossil fuels entirely in a decade without adding nuclear power plants would be impossible without bringing the economy to a standstill.
The U.S. nuclear industry is on life support. Two nuclear reactors currently under construction have been canceled. Westinghouse, once at the vanguard of American technology, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and is now owned by a Canadian firm. These troubles have affected the human capital—technicians, engineers, and other specialists--crucial for innovation in the industry.
President Donald J. Trump unveiled his FY 2020 Budget Request, including $31.7 billion dollars to fund the Department of Energy (DOE). DOE’s FY 2020 Budget Request supports America’s continued rise as an energy independent nation, and advances U.S. national security and economic growth by making investments in transformative science and technology innovation to promote affordable and reliable energy. It also includes funding to meet our national security and environmental cleanup challenges.
Addressing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on prospects for global energy markets, Birol said the USA had been a leader in nuclear power technology for 60 years alongside France, Japan and Russia, but was set to be overtaken by China unless US policies change. Birol has testified in front of the committee for the last three years.
We cannot end carbon emissions from power plants until we find a way to efficiently and safely store large amounts of power. We need to master the ability to quickly charge batteries without destroying their lifespans before electric vehicles take over. We need to find a way to store massive amounts of solar and wind power to be distributed upon demand to make renewable energies viable as baseload producers on the grid.
In the letter sent Monday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the 11 senators said a ban should be considered to protect U.S. utilities and the power grid. “We understand that Huawei, the world’s largest manufacturer of solar inverters, is attempting to access our domestic residential and commercial markets,” the letter states.
The report--led by former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Energy Futures Initiative founder, Ernest J. Moniz and IHS Markit vice chairman Daniel Yergin--evaluates ways to maintain U.S. leadership in clean energy innovation by better aligning the policies, players and programs that will drive technologies that can keep the nation globally competitive. The report, entitled Advancing the Landscape of Clean Energy Innovation, was commissioned by Breakthrough Energy.
This year, against the backdrop of recent warnings from top scientists about the urgency of climate action, the EIA's projections don't look great. Coal, one of the most carbon-emitting sources of energy, is still projected to provide 17 percent of the United States' electricity in 2050, and that's assuming that no carbon-capture technology has been made mandatory.
As a retiring member and the outgoing chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I can no longer set that agenda, but I can recommend the issues that still need Congressional attention and action. Headlines claiming that Congress is making a “return to science” are ignoring years of progress on policies advancing research, STEM education, and space exploration. America’s continued success in technology, innovation, and energy development depends on a Science Committee that commits to working toward these goals.
The United States is on track for the lowest yearly coal consumption in nearly four decades, the federal government said Tuesday. The Energy Information Administration (EIA), the nonpartisan data arm of the Energy Department, said it is expecting coal use to fall 4 percent, to 691 million short tons, for 2018. That would be the lowest level since 1979.