During the recent presidential debate, Governor Romney accused President Obama of wasting tax dollars on failed green projects, specifically referencing Solyndra as an example. What he failed to mention was that while three or four of the government’s green investments failed, over 23 of them have been success stories. These are the sorts of infrastructure investments our country needs. They create sustainable jobs while also helping us live more lightly on the planet.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) along with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) constructed a home which produces, on average, as much energy as it uses. A normal family of four could live inside, enjoying all of life luxuries, and their home is pretty much able to produce its own power. If we work at it, net-zero is possible.
Even more amazing is the fact that this home uses technologies that are commercially available today. This is the sort of direction energy policy in America needs to move toward, not denying climate change and acting as if we don’t have an upcoming energy crisis. The government is barely putting any money into new energy research. We also need to move toward a smart energy grid. So much needs done.
I have high hopes for solar and fusion power. For example, we have technology which allows solar technology to be infused within transparent windows, allowing skyscrapers to generate their own power.
Cost can be an issue for these things, but prices are dropping quickly and will continue to do so. Nanotechnology research is continually helping to bring down prices, and the more we invest in these areas, the quicker we can bring down the costs and reap the benefits.