Renewable Energy: Preparing Us for the Era of Conservation

By: Amos S. Eno
Posted on:04/20/2012 Updated:06/15/2012

Everyone knows that renewable energy technologies are cleaner - generating energy with a minimum of waste, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, using methane rather than contributing to the atmospheric load of greenhouse gases, or reducing the level of air and water toxins associated with energy production.  But, according to energy expert Bob Belick and others like Thomas Friedman, this is just the beginning of the argument for renewable energy.  

“We invented solar panels but China produces 70% of them,” Bob complains.  “China now makes and installs more sustainable power capacity than the U.S. because their leaders recognize that all of their coal will not be enough.  Plus, the cost of renewable technologies is dropping.”

The Decade of Decision

“The world already has 7 billion people, and by 2040, we’ll have 9.2 billion,” Bob continues.  “That’s a 37% increase!  Our traditional energy resources will be strained; we’re already seeing this at the gas pump, as increasing demand is coming from the expanding middle class of newly industrialized countries like Brazil, India and China.”

Moreover, our economic system has been geared toward baby boomers for generations.  Bob spouts the statistics:  “Boomers make up 29% of the US population - 8000 people in the U.S. turn 60 every day - and they are now entering the phase of their lives where they’ll have to conserve resources such as capital, raw materials and energy.  We can’t rely on our upcoming generations to spend us out of our economic downturn because they, too, will have to conserve resources.  They’ve been saddled with an enormous financial burden.

"In short, our entire population relies on a consumption-driven model when the paradigm is shifting to one of conservation.  Socially, environmentally and economically, conservation will have to be our model for not only energy, but food and water too.”

Bob believes we need to get ahead of these issues in the next ten years, otherwise we risk losing our economic edge to countries with better planning capabilities. Critical decisions and policies must be made and implemented by individuals, companies and governments soon, Bob believes, to insure life as we now know it in the U.S. for future generations.

All of the Above

“Right now, we have no silver bullet solution, and we can’t flip a switch to make needed changes overnight.  We’ve got to blend our way out of this - and that pace of blended change is accelerated or roadblocked by policy at all levels.”  

That’s why Bob started Sustainable Strategies - to speed up change in the direction of renewables.  “We pool resources to create a nimble, progressive and proactive network so that we can compete with major companies,” says Bob.  “We provide our clients with information, proposals, installations, engineering, and procurement of products.  We try to use products manufactured in the US as much as possible, and we go with proven technologies.  We don’t want to be part of a Solyndra-style experiment.”

Sustainable Strategies operates as a kind of cooperative of the best renewable energy providers.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, they want to be the hub of a wheel where the spokes are the very best companies already providing their brand of renewable energy service.  And the good news, Bob says, is that the younger generation is on top of it.  They are much more responsive to these trends we see in the world today.  They are likely to be ready when, and if, a national energy policy for renewables becomes a sustained reality.