Dr. David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, briefed members of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and area business partners on August 1. He discussed the President’s Climate Action Plan and Department of Energy efforts to reduce energy use, and ways they could work with the business community to improve efficiency across the board.
The briefing at the Chamber’s office was a result of a strategic partnership with Business Forward, who to date, has brought more than 3,000 business leaders to the White House to brief the President's economic advisors.
The Hampton Roads Chamber has maintained a long-standing position that we support all that is being done to diversify our energy sources. There is no debate that this nation is undergoing a major transformation regarding how it develops and generates energy.
Dr. Danielson began by asserting this was an exciting time for energy security and that the U.S. Department of Energy was already seeing great strides in renewable wind/solar power. He stressed the importantance for the government and private sectors to work together, and was eager to take suggestions or provide assistance to businesses trying to transition to more sustainable practices.
He acknowledged that businesses are worried about their bottom line and typically unable to invest in long-term research and development. This is why it’s the government’s role to advance this technology so as demand for renewable energy continues to grow, the United States is ahead of competitors, such as China.
Danielson commented, “As we’re moving past coal and nuclear energy, efficiency is a multitrillion dollar a year market, and I want to see the U.S. drive the lion’s share of that market.”
Danielson highlighted several areas where we have already seen substantial progress. He mentioned we are on track to double the fuel efficiency of our vehicles by 2025. Currently, wind power is twice as expensive but in the next decade will be comparable to coal. LED lights, which were once very expensive, can now be purchased for $10 and are 80% more efficient that in the recent past. He also touched on how 3D printing will affect manufacturing. He stressed the importance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions now, rather than having to pay for the damage caused by storm events later.
The attendees were a diverse mix of local business professional including, professors, entrepreneurs, scientists, and government officials. Georgie Marquez, VP at Andre + Marquez Architects, Inc., commented, “I loved the open form format and the variety of questions that were asked.” Marquez attended the last Business Forward Roundtable last month with Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as she discussed sustainability and the President's Climate Action Plan.
Please visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) http://www1.eere.energy.gov/financing/index.html. They offer financial assistance to those looking to incorporate sustainable technology in their businesses.
Thank you to Bill Holloran, Chair, Hampton Roads Business Political Action Committee, and Rachel Harvey, Press Secretary, Business Forward, for helping to facilitate this meeting.