Why clean energy should be an American priority

When it comes to fighting climate change, WHAT we need to do is easy: reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. HOW is the hard part. Greenhouse gases arise from thousands of activities, large and small.

For some activities, reductions are straightforward: electric cars will make a big difference, for example. For other activities, reductions are difficult, or prohibitively expensive, or impossible: we are going to continue to travel, and airliners burn lots of jet fuel with no workable alternative.

The sensible approach is to find activities where we can focus our efforts and get the most bang-for-the-buck. The activities we focus on need to be large producers of greenhouse gases, where reductions are meaningful in the overall effort—adding pool covers in California don’t count. And reductions need to be practical, both the economics and the technology have to work.

Nothing fills that bill better than the American electrical grid. Even with the solid advances that have been made, it is still an enormous producer of greenhouse gases—more than a quarter of all US emissions.

To put that in perspective, the generation of electric power in the United States in 2018 produced more greenhouse gases than every car on the road, every airplane in the air, and every train on the tracks, all taken together.

The electric grid not only has the scope we need; replacing fossil fuel generation with renewables is also economically and technologically practical. The cost of solar is competitive with other newly-constructed generation, and the technology is mature and continues to improve.

While a lot had been written and discussed about the growth of solar in the electrical grid, it still produces only a tiny fraction of the power generated, about 1.5% in 2018. Most of that is concentrated in a few places, most notably California. In many of the large industrial states, with high power demands, solar is still irrelevant: Ohio, 0.35%, Pennsylvania, 0.36%; Illinois, 0.17%.

This is low-hanging fruit. We need to use every practical approach we have available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. New approaches to adding solar energy in our nation’s electric grid can be a potent weapon.

Clearloop has developed an innovative way to do just that, and to do it in places where it will do the most good—our Carbon Mortgage concept. Corporate America is leading the fight against global warming today, and our mission is to give them an especially effective weapon so do so.