Clean Energy Solutions Take Center Stage
As President Obama called for U.S. leadership in clean energy technology in a speech at MIT Friday, up on Capitol Hill members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) demonstrated how they’re already putting innovative ideas into practice.
At a Clean Technology Showcase, we joined six corporations and fellow USCAP members to present cutting-edge solutions to a low-carbon future. While the displays varied from solar shingles to renewably-sourced swimwear to advanced coal technology, all participants agreed that making these solutions mainstream requires enacting comprehensive energy and climate legislation. Economy-wide federal policies that put a price on carbon and deliver incentives for clean energy development and deployment are today’s big missing ingredient.
Instead of the policy talk more common to Capitol Hill, Friday’s event focused on existing and emerging solutions to our energy and climate concerns. It proved an uplifting view of the opportunities that a clean energy economy can deliver.
Visitors entered the Showcase to flatscreens featuring the inner-workings of advanced nuclear and solar thermal power initiatives alongside solar roofing shingles for homes. Scientists and engineers shared insights with attendees about a range of items, including photovoltaic technology, lighter-weight auto parts, and fabrics derived from agricultural feedstocks.
We offered a slick display of our work in corporate energy efficiency strategies, individual energy-saving actions, and low-carbon technology fact sheets. A glowing red orb emanating from a washer-dryer lit up the other end of the exhibit area – part of a collection of energy-efficient appliances designed to communicate with utility meters to reduce peak electricity demand and lower consumers’ energy costs. Flanking the “smart” appliances were displays on fuel-cell automotive technology and coal gasification technology for coal power plants.
The hands-on demonstrations sent a clear message that companies stand ready to make major investments in transformational technologies once Congress acts. With strong legislation that provides clarity on the regulatory rules of the road, American businesses and workers are poised to capitalize in a clean-energy economy.
Participants’ Highlights at the USCAP Clean Technology Showcase:
- Dow Chemical: New technology in photovoltaics including solar roofing shingles, battery technology, and a carbon capture and algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert CO2 into ethanol
- DuPont: photovoltaic technology, “light-weighting” technology for automobiles, and breakthroughs in engineering polymers
- GE: “Smart” demand response-enabled appliances suite and cleaner coal gasification technology
- General Motors: 2nd generation biofuels, flex-fuel, electric, and fuel-cell automotive technology including its fuel-cell-powered Chevy Equinox
- Duke Energy: IGCC plant in Edwardsport, Indiana, expected to begin commercial operation in 2012
- NRG Energy: Nuclear, wind, solar thermal, and CCS technologies
Tom Steinfeldt is Communications Manager