UPDATE: For a deeper dive into the issues surrounding water and renewable energy in the U.S., please view ACORE intern Sai Weiss's completed research paper on the subject from Fall, 2014.
It’s not a stretch to say that clean water is fundamental for our society and economy. We use water for drinking, washing, growing crops, generating electricity, and most of all, for cooling thermoelectric power plants. In fact, 41% of water withdrawn nationally goes toward thermoelectric cooling. Moreover, in order to produce energy we need water, and in order to pressurize and transport water, we need energy. The reality is that water and energy are interdependent. With the energy sector having the biggest straw, one must wonder what happens when our water sources run dry.
Surrounding last month’s climate meetings and demonstrations in New York, we are reminded that we live in a time of monumental challenge. But a scroll through the history books would also show that some of history’s most substantial points of progress have come in the face of the world’s greatest struggles. In fact, daunting challenges are almost always a prerequisite for tremendous improvements. So why would climate change be any different?
It was like she was performing a winning monologue in a play—impassioned, dynamic, loud and impossible to tune out. Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan now at UC Berkeley “brought down the house” as the keynote speaker at REFF West, ACORE’s annual conference that brings together some of the most important players in the renewable energy finance and development arenas, which was held last week in San Francisco.
It’s no secret that the renewable energy industry is on fire. U.S. solar generation is set to double for the 7th straight year; the country has started pumping out cellulosic ethanol, a fuel made from non-food farm waste; there are 14 offshore wind projects nearing development; clean energy jobs doubled this quarter. So there’s no doubt that this renewable energy boom is yielding economic, environmental, and national security benefits across the U.S. But there’s also no doubt that the West is leading the way.
“It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” -- Yogi Berra.
Thanks to POET-DSM’s Project LIBERTY, we no longer need to make predictions about cellulosic ethanol. That future is now. Yesterday, our country took a significant step forward towards a society running on clean, renewable energy. On this historic day, commercial scale production of cellulosic ethanol moved from being a promise, a prediction, to being a reality; a reality with tremendous potential for growth that will reduce our dependence on petroleum and transform how we fuel our transportation sector.