The Energy Collective, an online blogging group, hosted a webinar Wednesday about developing a roadmap for large-scale installation of renewable energy sources. The online seminar’s expert participants described Texas as a world leader in wind energy, yet at the same time focused on the U.S. as lagging behind many countries in wide scale renewable installation.
“The audience is primarily American and you may not want to hear this, but you guys are lagging behind,” said Tom Raftery, a sustainable industry analyst for Redmonk and Energy Collective blogger who is Irish, but recently moved to Spain.
“All the markets are very different . . .Ireland is at about 7 percent (of renewable power sources), Spain is at 10 percent. The U.S. is at about 1 percent. The U.S. needs to (increase renewables), and do it fast,” Raftery said.
One attendee asked webinar participant Scott Sklar, who is president of the Stella Group and a chair of the Sustainable Energy Coalition’s steering committee, whether Sklar supported selection of an American “Energy Czar”.
“Yes,” replied Sklar. “Because most of what the Department (of Energy) does are wonderful things but in the end have nothing to do with our energy policy. Renewables don’t get due attention outside of photo opportunities because they are such a small part of the agency’s agenda. It needs to be a cabinet post.”
Sklar said that converging interests demand fast development in the energy sector. He said that presidential candidate John McCain cited renewable development as a necessity for improving national security; Barack Obama cited it as a source of job creation, and environmentalists cite the need for the planet’s health.
“The U.S., by not having resolved our energy policy and letting our policy be driven by energy price has really harmed our own standing within these technologies,” Sklar said.
He added that the U.S. is now importing wind and solar (more…)