If you watch some of the more negative television ads out there talking about energy issues, you’d get the idea that people who work on renewables don’t like the folks working on coal R&D projects that much. Well, luckily, what we see on TV isn’t always a good representation of what happens in the real world.
During the sessions at George Washington University’s symposium for accelerating greenhouse gas reductions, we were struck by how much respect was observed between researchers who were working to advance carbon capture and those who were working to advance renewable energy.
During his presentation on solar energy, Ken Zweibel, director of GWU’s Institute for the Analysis of Solar Energy, said that people studying renewables and people studying carbon capture were not all that different—they both have the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. The difference, he said, is that they are approaching the issue from two different angles.
If you follow the media’s interpretation of how the different energy sectors interact (or perhaps, by the commentary on some environmental blogs), you might think that we all fight like cats and dogs or tear down one another's research.
Today was living proof that that’s simply not the case. In fact, Mr. Zweibel said at the start of his solar energy lecture that he would “hate to see CCS be taken off the table” due to regulatory disconnects or hold-ups, and that solar energy is another option on the table to help us reduce CO2 emissions from electricity production and increase domestic energy production. Said Zweibel: “We need our energy here [in the US].”
And he’s right—we absolutely need all of our domestic energy sources to meet our growing energy and environmental challenges. We’re happy to have been part of the symposium at George Washington University and to have gotten the chance to work alongside these great thinkers and innovators.