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January 20, 2010

President Obama’s First Year Clean Energy Progress Report: 3 E’s and an A?

I am hope you heard the following statement several times during the 2008 presidential campaign.

America has always risen to great challenges, and our dependence on oil is one of the greatest we have ever faced. It’s a threat to our national security, our planet and our economy. For decades, Washington has failed to solve this problem because of partisanship, the undue influence of special interests, and politicians who would rather propose gimmicks to get them through an election instead of long‐term solutions that will get America closer to energy independence -- Barack Obama and Joe Biden: New Energy for America

This campaign was the first time Economic, Environmental, and Energy/national security (the three EEE’s) were connected as one issue -- and the connection was continued to make clean energy and alternative transportation fuels real solutions.  I believe voters were able to make this connection and vocalize that these issues were on the top of their agenda too.

This evolution was also a first for environmentalists. This was the first time environmental organizations were officially embracing clean energy and alternative transportation fuels as solutions and publically recognizing that lowering fossil fuel use was the way they could achieve their air pollution and climate change goals.  People in the environmental community even started having the word “energy” included in new titles on their business cards.  But, in just seven short months the honeymoon was over as -- Disillusioned Environmentalists Turn on Obama as Compromiser. So I started to keep track of headlines so after the environmentalist honeymoon I could see where the Administration stood on connecting the dots on the three EEE’s -- Economic, Environmental and Energy/national security.  Are the dots still being connected?   Is the Obama Administration on the right path?  The  compilation of headlines and stories below are from July 2009 to January 20, 2010.

Economic security is one of the E’s that was often missed by the environmental community – but that may be changing.  Without economic stimulation attached to environmental security, national surveys show fewer consumers will care, and fewer policy makers will vote with only their environmental heart in hand.  We are somewhat lucky that it is highly unlikely that aside from clean energy and renewable alternative transportation fuel technologies – there are very few other choices that can generate the magnitude of wealth our economy needs to sustain its quest for environmental protection, economic stimulation – and defeat our reliance on foreign sources of oil, which is holding our international diplomacy hostage.

New Report Shows Recovery Act Supported 63,000 Clean Energy Jobs Last Quarter:
Sierra Club, January 13, 2010

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has released a new quarterly report highlighting the success of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act at creating jobs and fueling economic growth. The report, which includes analysis from outside economists, shows that the Recovery Act has saved or created  1.5 to 2 million jobs through last quarter. 63,000 clean energy jobs were created by the $5 billion (out of approximately $90 billion total) in clean energy investments spent under the Recovery Act so far. The report estimates that, in total, the Recovery Act's clean energy investments will create 719,600 job-years (one person employed for one year) through 2012.

And then...

In an effort to move 31 renewable energy and transmission projects into high gear, the Obama administration has put them on a fast track permitting process. But such deals, which would take place on federal lands, have some opposition -- and it's coming from those in green corners, who say that certain ones should be relocated.

Everyone still needs to work on connecting the energy security dot to national security.  If the goals for energy security do not become as important and reverent as the goals for national security, the environmental effects from the 3rd Persian Gulf War and resulting scale up of nuclear weapons in the Middle East may make the effects from Climate Change appear distant and miniscule.

Now it's time for President Obama’s first year progress report.  The parade of positive headlines say – nice first year – keep up the good work! The President should get three E’s for helping the United States get closer to achieving Economic, Environmental, and Energy Security and an A for effort.  And ethanol and next generation biofuels should get an A too for the sum of their parts E+E+E.

Survey Finds That Support for Cap-and-Trade Hinges on Economy

Investors Representing $13 Trillion Call for Climate Action Now

Obama Administration Awards $2.3 Billion for New Clean Technology Manufacturing JobsLabor Department Awards $155 Million to Support Green Jobs

Treasury, Energy Announce More Than $2 Billion in Recovery Act Tax Credits for Energy Manufacturers, Tax Credit Program Will Increase Economic Development, Promote Manufacturing of Clean Energy Equipment

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $100 Million in Green Jobs Training Grants Through Recovery Act

Michigan's climate action plan could result in 129,000 jobs

U.S. Labor Secretary Expects More Green Job Hiring

"Cash for Clunkers" Program Will Create or Save 42,000 Jobs in Second Half of Year

Obama Wants Worldwide End of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $62.5 Million for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Obama Administration Delivers More than $106 Million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects in Nine States

Obama implores Senate to pass climate bill

And the seven month accomplishment list goes on and on below, but in the end...by other standards....

League of Conservation Voters Awards President Obama a B+ for First Year in Office

The House narrowly passed a major climate bill

Biofuels Could Cut Global Emissions by 80%:

New Study Shows Cars Running on Cellulosic E85 Have Lowest Carbon Emissions

President Obama Establishes Biofuels Interagency Working Group

U.S. Departments of Energy and Treasury Now Accepting Applications for Funding For Renewable Energy Projects

USDA's Farm Service Agency to Begin Accepting Applications for New Biomass Crop Assistance Program

Federal Funds for Energy Efficiency Set to Rise!

Obama Administration Announces Billions in Lending Authority for Renewable Energy Projects and to Modernize the Grid

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Awards for Up to $11 Million for New Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems

President Obama Declares October National Energy Awareness Month

Funding Up 3 Percent to $2.24 Billion for Renewables & Energy Efficiency in Fiscal Year 2010

Obama Presses Case for Renewable Energy

Novozymes Receives $28.4 Million Advanced Energy Tax Credit to Advance Biofuels Production and Create Jobs Read more

DOE Awards Nearly $80 Million for Advanced Biofuels Research and Fueling Infrastructure Read more

DOE Grants Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Partners $44 Million to Develop Algal Biofuels Read more

Army Corps of Engineers Grants Coventa Energy Corp. $1.5 Million to Develop Technology for Conversion of MSW to Diesel Fuel for Military Use Read more

USDA Undersecretary Tonsager to Address 4th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on Biofuels Interagency Working Group

DOE to Award $187 Million to Improve Car and Truck Fuel Efficiency

DOE to Award $47 Million to Boost IT and Telecom Energy Efficiency

DOE Announces Additional Energy Efficiency Enforcement Action to Protect Consumers

DOE to Support Clean Energy Projects in Costa Rica and the Caribbean

President Obama Says 'Insulation Is Sexy'

EIA Energy Outlook Projects Moderate Growth in U.S. Energy Consumption, Greater Use of Renewables, and Reduced Oil and Natural Gas Imports

Energy Secretary Chu Pledges $350 Million Clean Technology Fund to Sweeten Deal at Copenhagen

Energy Secretary Chu Announces $100 Million for Advanced Research Projects:

Nine Swing Senate Democrats Lay Out Climate Goals for Obama

Obama Administration Announces More Than $600 Million Investment in 19 Advanced Biorefinery Projects - Private Company Investment Brings Total to Nearly $1.3 Billion:

Energy Secretary Chu Announces $620 Million for Smart Grid Demonstration and Energy Storage Projects

U.S. Department of Energy to Invest $18 Million in Small Business Clean Energy Innovation Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Signs Agreement for New Hydrogen Power Plant

Remarks by President Obama New National Fuel Efficiency Standards

Obama Administration Announces More than $38 Million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects in Alaska, Kansas, Utah and West Virginia

National Outdoor Lighting Improvements Would Save $5.1 Billion Annually

New Economic Data Released on Clean Energy Legislation

Treasury, Energy Surpass $1 Billion Milestone in Recovery Act Awards for Clean Energy Projects

U.S. Energy Secretary Chu Announces $528 Million Loan for Advanced Vehicle Technology for Fisker Automotive

Secretary Chu Announces $144 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Transition to the Smart Grid

White House Clears Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

House OKs Green Vehicle Research Bill

$100 Million in Recovery Act Funds Go to 43 Transit Projects Chosen to Reduce Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

DOE Awards Up to $14.6 Million to Support Development of Advanced Water Power Technologies

DOE Launches New "H-Prize" Offers $1 Million for Improved Hydrogen Storage

Report Says Strong Copenhagen Deal Means Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Interior Department Launches Response Strategy to Addresses Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Lands and Oceans:

DOE to Fund up to $454 Million for Retrofit Ramp-Ups in Energy Efficiency Projects for Businesses and Homeowners

White House, Oil, Gas Industry Spar Over Taxes

On Energy, Obama Finds Broad Support - Poll Shows Backing for Reform Efforts, But Cap-and-Trade Bill Is Harder Sell

U.S. Department of Energy Selects Biofuels Projects to Receive up to $21 Million in Funding

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Missouri Conversion Facility First with Biomass Crop Assistance Program Producer Payments

EPA to Declare CO2 a Dangerous Pollutant

U.S. Department of Transportation Awards Contract to Prototype Solar Road Panels

Energy Secretary Chu Announces Completion of Critical Energy Conservation Appliance Standards

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces More Than $13 Million to Help Meet Country's Renewable Energy Needs

EPA Raises the Bar for Energy Star Televisions

Poll Shows Support for Energy Bill
 
Vice President Biden Announces Finalized $535 Million Loan Guarantee for Solar

Secretary Chu Announces Nearly $300 Million in Clean Cities Grants to Support Clean Fuels, Vehicles, and Infrastructure Development

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $6.4 Million for Solid-State Lighting Research

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Awards More Than $4.2 Million for Woody Biomass Utilization Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Sets Awards To Evaluate CO2 Storage Technology While U.S. EPA Seeks Comments on New Information About Sequestration

Obama Administration Delivers More than $101 Million for Weatherization Programs in Guam and Pennsylvania 

Obama Administration Awards More than $51 Million for State Energy Programs in Alaska, Guam and New Jersey 

U.S. Government Seeks to Limit Federal Energy Use

President Barack Obama's Grandmother Joins the 'Solar Generation' in Kenya

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $37 Million for Small Business Clean Energy Research and Technology

Clean Energy Patent Growth Reaches Record High

Companies Secure Nearly $200 Million for Projects in Advanced Clean Transportation Technologies

President Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Grants to Accelerate the Manufacturing and Deployment of the Next Generation of U.S. Batteries and Electric Vehicles
 
U.S. Department of Energy Announces Recovery Act Funding of up to $5.5 million for Ethanol Blends Infrastructure and Outreach

DOE Secretary Chu Announces Up to $30 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Renewable Energy, Transmission Grid, and Advanced Biofuels Projects

Obama Administration Awards More than $162 Million for State Energy Programs in Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding Available For Bioenergy Development And Production: 

Energy Secretary Chu Announces More Than $47 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Advance Smart Grid Development

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Policy Statement Seeks to Accelerate Deployment of Smart Grid Technology

U.S. Department of Energy Announces up to $52.5 Million for Concentrating Solar Power Research and Development
Geothermal Lease Sale Generates More Than $9 Million

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Announces Nearly $300 Million Rebate Program to Encourage Purchases of Energy Efficient Appliances

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Nearly $14 Million to Go to 28 New Wind Energy Projects - New DOE Study Shows U.S. Leads the World in Wind Energy Capacity

States Awash in Stimulus Money to Weatherize Homes

Recovery Act Announcement: Secretary Chu Announces More than $37 Million for Next Generation Lighting

 

 

 

November 14, 2009

Veterans Day 2009: Veterans, Persian Gulf Wars, and Energy Security

Freedom is not free: The price may be energy security.

I first learned about energy security, using oil as a diplomacy weapon, and alternative fuels from my father.  My father was a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp for the last 3 1/2 years of World War II.  He rarely talked about his experience as a POW, but one day he did take a moment to answer my juvenile and naïve question “Did you have any fun in prison camp, was it like Hogan’s Heroes?”  His response changed my life.  “We siphoned the fuel out of the Japanese trucks and drank it.”

Dad-AngelIsland My father went on to explain how the U.S. threatened Japan with an oil embargo in an effort to get them to side with us in World War II.  At that time the U.S. was the world’s largest oil producer.  Their answer to our threat was to bomb Pearl Harbor – which was the first oil related attack on U.S. soil.  Because the Japanese no longer had oil supplies from the U.S., and their allies did not have any either, they had to convert their Saki industry to fuel their domestic military fleet. They had to save whatever oil they could buy to fuel their planes and other military equipment that could not be replaced with ethanol (Germany used methanol).

My high school class was the first not to face a mandatory draft for military service in a generation or two. The visions of the Vietnam War on TV were still fresh in my mind, the price of gasoline doubled the year I got my drivers license, and being from a military family I had a sinking feeling that the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 was the prelude to the next military mission.  With a dreadful fear of boot camp, some family photos, and very selfsih desire to stay out of the next war, necessity drove me to search for the mother of all un-petroleum inventions. I started researching alternatives to oil with father’s conversation in mind.  In 1977 I presented my father with my future plan based on his POW story.  At first he did not share my optimism about alcohol fuels and my American [day] Dream. He said “The United States Congress does not have the optical will and private industry does not have a genuine interest in changing status quo. 99% of the people don’t care – because they don’t know – and there are few leaders with the courage or enough money to tell them different.”  I spent the next 30 years proving him right.

Dad-MugshotI sincerely believe we are in a longer term war over oil.  It is becoming increasing clear every day since we did not find weapons of mass destruction and Sadam Hussein’s trail ended that our involvement in the Middle East may be less complex than it appears on the surface.  Some may disagree with my view that that Persian Gulf Wars I, II and II, and the Global War on Terror have everything to do with oil, but most may agree oil accounts for at  least 50% of our mission and can be rated as one of the top two reasons.

But the next 30 years are going to be different!  Times are changing and political will is growing stronger.  We have a renewable fuel standard and there are more democratic and republican leaders everyday that have the courage to tell Americans they are addicted to oil and it’s time for intervention.  The internet and blogs, in combination with the growing number of countries that respect democracy, education, and the freedom of speech will help people find the truth about oil.  In the meantime, our military fights every hour of every day to selflessly protect democracy, capitalism, the world economy and the pursuit of liberty for all – even if one of the root causes is oil.  The next time you fill up with gasoline, even if it is only 10% ethanol, stand tall and know that Americans have been heard, the challenge is being met, and our true national leaders are rising to the occasion.

Dad-Flags The next time you feel like you need a good God Bless America find some E85 and put it in your FFV as your personal effort to acknowledge our energy security mission and hopefully bring the troops home one day -- and God bless you if one of them is yours.  The people who think “business isn’t personal” obviously don’t know anything about the energy  business and energy security.

On Veterans Day I went to Arlington Cemetery to place a flag on my father’s grave. I could not help but notice the rows in Section 60 were growing with Persian Gulf War veterans. As the rows move east the birthdates change from the 1920’s to the 1980’s.  World War II, Vietnam, and Korea are replaced with Operation Desert Storm (Second Persian Gulf War), Operation Iraq Freedom (Third Persian Gulf War) Operation Enduring Freedom (War in Afghanistan).  The memorial for Operation Ultimate Justice (Global War on Terror) is across the street at the Pentagon.

Section 60 Veterans Day 2009 lead me down a path that filled with three generations of conflicts over oil and back to that conversation that changed my life.  Take a moment to talk to a veteran about war and oil – it might just change your life too – and maybe even change your mind about the next type of car you buy.

God Bless America and our troops that protect her.


Some recommended reading to learn more about Energy Security. 

1. Winning the Oil Endgame, by Amory B. Lovins, published by the Rocky Mountain Institute in cooperation with the Department of Defense.
2. Freedom from Oil, David Sandalow, published by McGraw Hill.
3. Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Imported Petroleum, by Michael Klare, published by Henry Holt and Company (an Owl Book)
4. Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century, by Gal Luft and Anne Korin, published by Praeger Security International.
5. Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak, by Kenneth S. Deffeyes, published by Hill and Wang (a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
6. Turning Oil Into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice, Anne Korin, Gal Luft, published by BookSurge Publishing
7. Energy Victory, by Robert Zubrin, published by Prometheus Books
8. Over a Barrel: Breaking the Middle East Oil Cartel, by Raymond J. Learsy, published by Nelson Current
9. Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy by Matthew R. Simmons, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
10. The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World, by Paul Roberts, published by Houghton Mifflin Company (A Mariner Book).
11. The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and The Coming Global Financial Catastrophe, by Jeremy Leggett, published by Random House
12. The Plan: How To Rescue Society When The Oil Stops – Or The Day Before, by Edwin Black, published by Dialog Press
13. Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, by Peter Maass, published by Alfred A. Knoff (Random House)