Fifty years ago, in 1962 President John F. Kennedy challenged the nation's greatest scientific and business leaders to "put a man on the moon by the end of the decade." We rose to the challenge and we hit that goal in the summer of 1969.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we are facing a new challenge: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically very soon, or face more extreme weather patterns and destructive, volatile weather events due to climate change.
And what better way to promote rapid advancement in technology than to throw down the gauntlet. Speak out loud an outrageous goal, and challenge everybody to rise to the occasion.
CLEANER ENERGY AT AFFORDABLE PRICES
That challenge has now been issued for clean energy! The U.S. Department of Energy wants to reduce the cost of solar energy systems by 75% by the end of the decade. DOE has created a collaborative program called the SunShot Initiative, and the goal is to kickstart the solar industry with laser-focused research and design so that a decade from now it is self-sustaining with no taxpayer subsidies necessary, with competitive market forces working to spur innovation, growth and investment in a sector driven by greater consumer demand: cleaner energy at affordable prices!
I recently took a plane from Harrisburg International Airport via Dulles in Washington, DC to New Orleans, LA. Our return flight routed us through Chicago, IL. And I had the gift of a hot air balloon ride over Lancaster County for my 50th birthday on June 9th. Do you know what I noticed? Not much solar up on those roofs -- but there are LOTS of roofs!
I would go so far as to say that, even though I saw a few solar arrays, we have virtually NONE right now, and this is a tremendous opportunity.
Cleaner, renewable energy not only reduces carbon emissions, but it creates good-paying jobs. It also reduces our reliance on foreign oil. And it is tapping a FREE resource that we don't have to drill for or do research to find; we just have to harness it.
Energy deregulation is spurring competition, which in turn is promoting innovations and improvement in the energy industry. And giving consumers and business owners the ability to choose their energy supplier is also creating a greater demand for cleaner energy.
To demonstrate how hungry consumers are for cleaner energy, look at the phenomenal growth of Viridian Energy, a socially responsible retail energy supplier that offers a cleaner energy at an affordable price. It far surpassed all its competitors who grew at an average of 58% from 2010 to 2011, by growing at a whopping 708%, simply by providing electricity that is at least 20% renewable, PLUS whatever is mandated by each state where they do business.
So, in Pennsylvania for example, the state mandate for Renewable Portfolio Standards is that 9.7% of suppliers energy must come from renewable sources in 2011-12, so Viridian's commitment for 100% of their customers is that they will provide cleaner energy that is minimally 29.7% from clean energy sources that are generated in our state or region. And they do without charging extra for it -- in fact, it is less expense over every rolling 12-month period than the dirtier energy being provided by your local utility company!
So, I hope we are up to the challenge -- I'm tired of record-breaking Tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and floods.... and we'll all breathe better!
David Ritter lives in South Hanover Township, Dauphin County, just outside Hershey PA. He is a freelance writer and an Independent Associate with Viridian Energy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 856-3081
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