On June 14th, 2013 US President Barack Obama delivered a strong message to the American public as well as to the rest of the world: strong, proactive action on climate change needs to be taken NOW. As one of the cornerstones of the current administration's platform, President Obama has renewed his commitment to lead in the fight against climate change, and boost more investments in the clean energy industry. This is a key component for the administration's campaign to reduce carbon emissions by 17% (below 2005 levels) by 2020.
President Obama’s most significant directive was for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement stronger regulations to limit carbon emissions from existing coal and gas-fired power plants, and to limit the use of coal for electricity generation. This is in light of the immense impact of power plants in carbon emission. According to the latest figures from EPA, coal and gas-fired utilities contribute approximately 40 percent of the total carbon emissions in the US.
As a parallel move toward a tightened regulatory and compliance environment for utilities at federal and state levels, President Obama has laid out initiatives that will boost development and investments in the clean energy sector. This includes increased funds for research, broadened investment channels, and financial incentives for companies that will undertake development work for clean energy technologies. These measures will ensure continued US leadership in the renewable energy space, which has seen the birth of landmark technologies using hydropower, biomass, solar power, and other renewable energy sources.
The Need for a Stronger Clean Energy Sector
For the past five years, energy consumption in the US has seen significant growth in the renewable energy sector, and a corresponding decrease in the use of coal and oil as fuel sources. Natural gas, a fossil fuel that emits significantly lower carbon emission than oil and coal, is gaining more popularity as an alternative fuel source. As of 2011, this made up 25 percent of the total energy consumption portfolio, alongside the growing adoption of renewable energy sources (Fig. 1).
With worldwide energy consumption projected to increase 35 percent by 2035, the government's plan to increase the usage of natural gas as an alternative to oil and coal will directly address potential problems resulting from oil and fossil fuel depletion, as well as their immense impact on climate change.
A stronger investment in renewable energy sources will also enable the country to fully harness the energy potential of wind, air, sun, land and water. This is proven by various research and development (R&D) efforts which show that all of these are rich potential energy sources that offer immense economic benefits to the public and industries.
Globally, the sector is seeing an increasing trend for investments, with some $1.1 billion in commitments between January and March 2013. Domestically, this is expected to increase as a result of the Obama administration's continued campaign to boost the sector.
FCS: Helping Companies Identify Opportunities within the Energy Industry
FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS), a global leader in the environmental management and energy services industry, is committed to helping companies navigate highly dynamic energy landscapes and understand the opportunities that exist within. Whether you are a public or private organization looking into the potential of new technologies, or taking advantage of planned initiatives in the energy industry, FCS has the knowledge, resources and expertise to help your organization create the tools and resource base that you need to create business value. We have extensive experience in providing customized solutions for data processing, software and consultation services that will help you integrate sustainability into your core business strategies and in the process, attain leadership in the environment and energy space. For more information, click below: