National Clean Energy Project Part 10/16
Leaders from the public and private sectors met in Washington, DC on February 23rd to discuss ideas to reform U.S. energy policy, and pave the wave for our economic future part 10/16.
National Clean Energy Project Part 10/16
Senator Wirth: Governor Pataki who has had an enormous amount of experience
dealing with and these potential opportunities how in fact do they
become a reality. And may we ask proper Kennedy if he might talk
about the kind of clean energy businesses that gets pawned that
then moves us toward a more consumer orientation and I would
like to go Lee Scott from there. So Governor Pataki, if you could—
over here, sir. Thank you very much for being here.
Governor Pataki: Thank you very much Senator Wirth and it's an honor to be a part
of this panel. And let me congratulate the leadership on a
tremendous progress on energy that has been made thus far. We
all, I think are aware of the needs but what we haven’t talked about
is one of the biggest single impediments to achieving a National
Transmission System that allows us to access this renewable and
that is how do you permit the actual transmission line?
And let me tell you after 12 years as governor there are lot of
contentious issues but you try to run aware through somebody’s
community and that becomes as contentious as you could possibly
have. Now, if you were to go to a community and do a poll in this
stimulus bill it might 50/50, 70/30 but tell someone you’re going to
run wires through the community that come from one state and go
through to another state. You don’t have to take a poll.
No one is going to for it and what is missing is the ability of those
who desire to build this transmission system to actually get the
approval on a permanent to do it. It takes years, it takes hundreds
of millions of dollars and at best the outcome is uncertain. So I’m
going to get in a little trouble in some quarters by agreeing with
majority leader read that I think the federal government has a
critical role in this regard.
Right now, you have to get local approvals, state approvals but
what we need is a federal determining process, not one that’s
authoritarian but one that works in partnership with the states. So
that the state see benefit to their constituencies when a National
transmission system comes through their community. Secretary
Chu talked about on and off ramps.
You know when the highway system was built at first everyone
wanted it because they have that off ramp. They could get the work
quicker. They could get their goods to market sooner. They could
see their property values grow. We need to help states by having
on and off ramps so state that walked through race their renewable
standards can access them from areas that have those tremendous
But ultimately when it comes to permitting if it's left to a state by
state basis for all the money, for all the technology it is not going
to happen. We have a model with natural gas pipe plans where the
FERC was authorized to do that. We need to work with the states
but ultimately grant that authority and I'm reluctant to say what the
chairman sitting next to me to the FERC so that these transmission
lines that we all want and we all know we need in fact ultimately
Senator Wirth: Thank you every much Governor and we had a quite a discussion
of this early this morning with John Wellinghoff and Fred Butler
and if we have time, we’ll come to some of that. Robert, do you
want to speak about some of the opportunities that are out there
and that I want to go to Lee Scott as to how those opportunities
then gets spread to a very broad America public, Robert Kennedy?
Robert Kennedy: I’d like to just start by saying Senator Wirth that during 25 years as
n environmental advocate, this is probably the most hard thing
morning that I ever had to hear all these national leaders talking
about solving these issues in a way that I think a lot of us having
part to the that long time.
I’m on a board in additional working for NDRC and Waterkeepers.
I'm on the board of one of the largest green-tech venture capital
firms in the country. One of our company is BrightSource on
Thursday signed a contract with Southern California Edison to
build a 1.3 gigawatt solar thermal plant in Southern California.
Eight months ago we signed another contract – the same company,
with Pacific Gas and Electric for another gigawatt of solar thermal.
So, that’s 2.3 gigawatts of solar thermal that we’re going to build –
bring on-line within the next two years.
We’re building the plant cheaper than you can build. It’s bigger
than most nuke plants. We’re building it cheaper than a nuke plant.
We’re building it cheaper than a coal plant. We’re building it
cheaper than a gas plant. We’re building it a lot faster.
Once we build it, as Vice President Gore said, the energy is free
forever. You don’t have to go to Saudi Arabia and punch holes in
the ground, bring the oil up, refine it, ship it across the Atlantic
with a military escort, get in periodic wars in Mesopotamia and
other places, and then deliver it across the country. The electrons
are hitting our country for free every day. If we build this
infrastructure to pick them up, we can put them into the lines.
If we were to build this out across the country we could provide
100 percent of the energy needs in this country for about $750
billion. This is theoretical. You know, I’m not saying you could do
solar thermal for the whole country, but you’d mix it with wind
and others. $750 billion, that’s less than we spend on oil every
year, on foreign oil than we send – than we export out of this
country for foreign oil every year.
We gave that $700 billion to Wall Street and people say, well, it’ll
take generations to pay it back. Actually, it’ll only just take one
year without foreign oil. What we need is a marketplace, and that’s
what everybody’s saying, that’s what Vice President Gore said.
We need an open marketplace that does what a market is supposed
to do, which is the reward good behavior – which is efficiency, and
to punish bad behavior – which is inefficiency and waste.
Right now we have a marketplace that is rigged to favor the
dirtiest, filthiest, poisonous, most expensive fuels from hell. We
need to design a marketplace that rewards the clean, cheap fuels
from heaven. Now, we can do this very quickly and I want to give
you a couple of examples: We built a national grid, a national
backbone for the Internet in 1979 called the ARPANET. And in
1980, a year later, there were fewer than 500 PCs in this country
and IBM was saying it was a dead-end technology. Well, now
every American has a PC, because we had a marketplace. And
what happened to the cost of information of bits and bytes? It
plummeted to almost nothing. That’s the same thing that will
happen to electrons if we build a national grid for electricity in the
In 1996, President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act,
which opened up the telecommunications grid. It spawned a
telecommunications revolution in this country. That’s why we
have an iPod. This morning, before I came down here, I saw on TV
an advertisement for a company that provides unlimited long
distance and local calling for $18 a year. That’s what’s going to
happen to the cost of energy if we build a national marketplace that
operates the way that a marketplace is supposed to do.
Now, it may not be one whole grid system, because really, there
are three grids in this country: there’s an eastern grid, there’s a
western grid and there’s a Texas grid. All of them are big enough.
All of them have adequate wind and solar resources to split among
each other and that may be a more sensible way to do it; I’m not
But what we need to do is to make sure that the market rules are
aligned with our national interests and with the global interests of
saving our planet. We need to make sure that utilities can make
money by getting their consumers to conserve energy and that their
profits are not dependent on them selling as much energy as
And then we need to open up the grid so that everybody can get on
it. If you have a solar panel on your roof and you’re not home for
one part of the day and your house is generating more energy than
it’s using, you ought to be able to sell that back to the grid and get
market rates for it. There’s no state where you can do that today.
Thirty-six states will buy it back from you, but all of them limit
how much and none of them will give you market rates.
If we do that, we will make every American into an energy
entrepreneur, every home into a power plant and we can power this
country from American initiative and entrepreneurship and energy
rather than Saudi oil.
National Clean Energy Project Part 10/16
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