The former vice president and Nobel laureate is giving a major speech at noon today in which he will be “challenging the nation to produce every kilowatt of electricity through wind, sun and other Earth-friendly energy sources within 10 years“:
“I have never seen an opportunity for the country like the one that’s emerging now,” Gore told The Associated Press in an interview previewing a speech on global warming he was to deliver Thursday in Washington.
Gore said he fully understands the magnitude of the challenge … $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion over 30 years in public and private money. But he says it would cost about as much to build ozone-killing coal plants to satisfy current demand….
To meet his 10-year goal, Gore said nuclear energy output would continue at current levels while the nation dramatically increases its use of solar, wind, geothermal and so-called clean coal energy. Huge investments must also be made in technologies that reduce energy waste and link existing grids, he said.
Personally, I would have set the challenge at closer to 50% by 2020 and 90% by 2030. In particular, I’d like a few years for solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar thermal to mature a little more, to see what are the very best strategies and technologies. And I’m not certain all the money in the world can get us a substantial amount of “clean coal” (presumably coal with carbon capture and storage) in a decade. So all that speaks to adding another decade. Also, I don’t know why we would want to shut down the combined cycle natural gas turbines, which is why I’d be more than happy to see this country with a 90% fossil-free grid in 2030.
Nonetheless, kudos to Gore for laying out such an ambitious “moonshot” goal.