Live Blog! After the Spill: America’s Energy Policy

I will be live blogging for Planet Forward first breakfast salon today from 8a-9:30a ET.

Thought leaders for the salon include: Congressman Brian Baird, Ethan Nuss (Field Director, Energy Action Coalition), Dr. Ray Orbach, Director of The Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, and John Pemberton of Southern Company.

We're going to talk about the impact of the recent Gulf oil spill on energy policy, just as negotiations heat up on the hill. As always, our host Frank Sesno will moderate the discussion.

The event is presented in conjunction with National Geographic, which has launched a new initiative called “The Great Energy Challenge” and is partnering with Planet Forward.

8:30 - Everyone's settling in, we're about to get started.
8:40 - Frank Sesno (FS) - We want your unfiltered ideas, innovators on solutions to the energy crisis
8:45 - FS 90% of the American public are following the story of the oil spill
8:52 - John Pemberton (Southern Company): Oil spill is a horrible event...but this spill does more harm to push energy forward than helps it.
8:56: JP - Don't confuse oil with energy. There is oil from mobil sources, and energy from coal, natural gas and renewables. It's two different debates...We're not going to get off fossil fuels in the near future...There's no quick win.
9 - Ray Orbach (Director of the Energy Institute at UT-A): The spill has demonstrated the costs...that leads to the gap in our knowledge of what to do. Research to understand the risks are underwater drilling hasn't been funded...These are very complex systems and we haven't brought analysis to bear like we do for NASA missions...These platforms are not run by a single organization, no one puts together the dynamics of that system to understand the risks of an error...Utilities have not been helpful - they're looking at short term consequences even though their actions have long-term consequences.
9:05 - Ethan Nuss (Energy Action Coalition): For the first time, my generation may not be better of than our parents. We see these moral implications...we recognize deeply the need to switch to renewable energy. When we see the impacts on our communities, it's clear we have to make a drastic switch to renewable energy.
9:11 Jennifer O'Shea (American Gas Association) - Need more R&D for natural gas because it's a clean alternative
9:13 Marianne Lavelle (Energy Editor, National Geographic) - Need to get beyond the polarized debate to figure out how we are really going to move forward.
9:17 Pemberton - There's going to be a lot of natural gas use
9:17 Orbach - The the thirst for hydrocarbons is causing a new, unconventional extraction that we don't know about. Nat gas is cleaner, but only by a factor of 2. We can't reach our 2050 goals with natural gas.
9:19 Lee Paddock (GWU Law): How can we create and conduct public dialogue that can create consensus not just in the next 2 years, but across a generation.
9:22 Jonathan Blank (K&L Gates) Can't sell a lower standard of living if you want consensus. The environmental community needs to get it's head around that if they're going to have success...Can do anything to scale in the United States...it may never be possible...but we'd need a policy that helps companies move from science companies to manufacturing companies...need a coherent policy that sustains the profitability of entrepreneurship.
9:26 Patrick Stanton (OPower) - We've saved over 100 GWh in energy...we do that by engaging the mass market...Every demographic saves a measurable amount of electricity...the regulatory models that work best for our business are the ones where the utilities are properly incentivized to promote energy efficiency.
9:31 Pemberton (Southern Company)- Investing $1b in energy efficiency
9:34 FS How do you get people to consume less without implying sacrifice?
9:37 Carol Werner (Executive Director, EESI) - Having certainly is critical. Our energy policies are mixed, at best, perverse at worse.
9:39: David Evans (Noblis) - Have to change the way we inform our citizens. this is much bigger than just an enviornmental problems. We wont make the change in energy policy...until there's some sort of consensus...and that comes from a better understanding of the issues, especially the technology. We need to take advantage of the bad stuff to deal with the long term.
9:41: (intern) Have to meet people where they are when you're trying to build consensus.
9:42: Frank Sesno: Need to highlight the innovative ideas that will be a solution.
Pemberton - Camper County - building 65% carbon capture coal plant
Stanton - Found that people want to save energy...want to get feedback and what they should do. Don't want to make those connection themselves
Blank - Storage will be the innovative
Native Energy Micronuclear
Clerman - Get people to understand the energy system
Cooke - Don't pit two energy sources against each other. We need it all. Debate needs to be positive on all energy sources
Nuss Clean Energy sources create 4 jobs to every 1 with fossil fuels
Sesno - We'll generate ideas to drill down in this electrifying conversation
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