New rules, innovations will build a clean energy economy

Karin Rives

The United States is expected to spend some $2 trillion over the next two decades upgrading its aging power grid. That spells opportunity for a nation that has always chosen innovation over business as usual.

In a recent op-ed piece in Power Magazine, Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp describes how the United States is now laying the groundwork for a clean energy economy through policies and market forces that are beginning to work in tandem to accelerate change.

The landmark Clean Power Plan that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed in June places the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, giving states the incentive to shift to cleaner energy sources and the freedom to design their own paths to compliance.

Renewable energy, of course, is already the fastest-growing power generation sector in America, with just wind and solar now making up more than 4 percent of total market share.

American businesses, meanwhile, are developing products and services that cater to energy-efficient homes where consumers control their own power consumption.

“Perhaps most importantly,” Fred writes, citing a recent Yale University poll, “public support for clean energy is at a record high…People care about energy because it touches everything that we do, and Americans are tired of hearing sad, old myths about why we can’t move forward.”

Read his full op-ed piece here.


I am curious as to why EDF continually ignores recommending, along with wind and solar, innovative research on and expansion of nuclear power in the USA, as is going on in other countries. After all, thorium is continually being converted to uranium 233 in a breeder reaction in the earth's mantle, driving the convection currents that move the tectonic plates. We can harness this same power, using thorium, an abundant and cheap element, available worldwide along with rare earths.

Ben Hammett
July 8, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Nuclear power is indeed an important part of our energy mix going forward. In fact, a number of nuclear operators have successfully obtained license extensions from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, enabling them to continue generating electricity without the same climate and air quality impacts as coal-fired generation. Although there is some limited new-plant construction underway in the U.S., the biggest obstacle to nuclear plants remains the cost of construction, not fuel or other operating costs. The bottom line is that new nuclear plants – to say nothing of new reactor designs such as those running on thorium – face stiff market resistance, even though the understanding of the role of nuclear power in reducing greenhouse gas emissions continues to grow.

Elgie Holstein
July 10, 2014 at 9:22 am

In reply to by Ben Hammett

Energy industry presents great challenges but also amazing opportunities for innovation. Reportedly, energy industry is now following Silicon Valley and looking to adopt a customer-centric approach of tech giants.

Ewa Lewandowska
July 9, 2014 at 11:23 am

Nuclear power is NOT clean, is NOT sustainable and down the road will cause too many environmental issues. We can do better.

Angie Garica-Johnson
July 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm

As a long-time EDF supporter, I've been impressed by most policy statements from it. However, like Ben, I've been mystified by its slowness to grasp the environmental reasoning behind nuclear power -- reasoning that even JFK understood could eliminate combustion power emissions by about 2000.

We piddled for so long after JFK/LBJ knew what to do, that burning anything now is absurd.

Now, we guarantee our descendants great hardship. They'll have every right to spit on our graves, if those can be found.

We needed to be deploying 1GWe of nuclear or equal by 1980. Oops.

Dr. A. Cannara
July 12, 2014 at 8:03 pm

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