Daily VideoFebruary 18, 2009
California Pioneers Renewable Energy
President Obama has made changing U.S. energy policy to rely more on renewable sources a top priority. In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to push his large and influential state to 33% renewable energy by 2020.
Northern California’s Pacific Gas and Electric, which provides energy to 15 million customers, generates 12% of its power from wind and solar energy and is scheduled to move to over 20% renewable by 2010.
Some energy providers are not sure they can make the 33% mandate noting that the current systems are not set up for renewable energy yet and solar and wind energy may still be prohibitively expensive for low-income consumers.
Spencer Michaels reports.
“I think it’s a huge challenge. I think it’s going to take us a great effort from all different parts of industry and government to pull off. The grid that we need is not in place. The technologies are not in place. We need a lot of people to really push hard to pull that off.” – Bob Cart, CEO, GreenVolts
“Renewables are more expensive. But the question is, more expensive than what? Current gas-powered turbines? Yes. But are they more expensive when you consider all of the costs of carbon and the alternative of doing nothing? The answer is no.” – Peter Darbee CEO, Pacific Gas & Electric Company
“California is a large state, and so it makes a big difference in terms of reducing its own emissions, but it also sets a very important signal, because many states partner with California in terms of policies and many overseas governments look to California for what’s possible, what’s doable, as well as the federal government.” – Dan Kammern, University of California, Berkeley
Warm Up Questions
1. When you turn on the light or recharge your phone, where is that electricity coming from?
2. What is renewable energy? Name a few alternative energy sources.
1. Why do you think that some countries have been able to move to more renewable energy faster than the United States? Should the United States push for more renewable energy now that the economy is struggling?
2. Who should set the target percentages for renewable energy in the United States? State governments? The Federal Government in Washington? Voters? Why?
3. Renewable energy can be more expensive in the short run but is better for the environment and can be cheaper over time; would you spend your money on solar or wind power even if it were more expensive right now?
4. Should the government subsidize renewable energy for people who cannot afford it? Can you think of a way to make it cheaper?
5. What are some ways to cut down on your energy consumption?
6. Research your local power company. Does it burn coal or oil? What kinds of renewable sources is it investing in?
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Learn about the international negotiations that go into climate change reduction Continue reading
Daily News Lesson: U.S. plan to share Pfizer shots globally ‘too little and too late,’ ex-CDC director says
The Biden administration announced Wednesday that the U.S. was purchasing an additional 500 million Pfizer COVID vaccines to donate to other nations. Continue reading
Daily News Lesson: Inmates released to home confinement during pandemic fear ‘devastating’ reincarceration
Hear from people released from prison because of COVID, and how they’re pushing to stay in their homes Continue reading
Hear from documentarian Ken Burns on how and why he made his latest series about Muhammad Ali Continue reading
Learn about the U.S. response to a surprisingly large group of Haitian migrants camped on the southern U.S. border Continue reading