Governments around the world have already committed $56 billion in stimulus funding for energy efficiency.
Over the next 40 years, more than $270 trillion (that's right...with a TR) is expected to be invested in clean energy worldwide.
A consistent theme here (as it was at the ARPA-E conference at National Harbor a few months ago) is the need for a price on carbon, as well as a consistent policy on energy efficiency at the national and state levels, as well as worldwide.
India is spending more on feed-in tariffs as a percentage of per capita income than anything we have on the table here in the U.S.
From Secretary Chu's talk...
Standards stimulate technology, a great example of which is dramatically improved refrigerator efficiency, despite predictions of gloom and doom from the refrigerator industry at the time that tougher regulatory policies were introduced (which is also a common occurrence in Energy Star, and I'm guessing in other ecolabels like Blaue Engel and Nordic Swan--Coop).
The role of technological innovation is constantly underestimated in its ability to lower costs.
Since buildings consume 40% of energy in the United States, we need a new way of designing and constructing buildings. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) has been around for years, but incorporating embedded energy in the build equation is a foreign concept in the construction industry. When Boeing designs a new airplane, every change in design has a dependent change in materials required and energy consumed. We need to design buildings in a similar vein, enabling calculation of not just the materials used, but their resultant impact on all aspects of the building's energy footprint. DoE is preparing guidelines to enable these measurements, leading to enhanced comfort, energy, and cost savings.
LEED ratings are based on design performance, not actual performance...that needs to evolve.
One of ARPA-E's many goals is to cut cooling energy consumption by 25-40%.
Retrofitting urban roofs and pavements with solar reflective materials (i.e., white roofs) would be the equivalent of taking all cars off the road for 11 years emissions-wise.
John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Policy: Between 1970 and 2005, energy efficiency increased roughly two percent per year; over 35 years, that equals a 50% increase in efficiency. Stated more compellingly, the energy required to create a point of GDP has been cut in half.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia gave some interesting numbers on India's national campaign to move from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lights. Last year, India migrated 200 million bulbs to CFLs; this year, they expect to migrate twice as many, with the goal of having moved fully to CFLs by the end of next year. The energy savings is pretty mind-boggling--migrating from incandescents (at 10 lumens per watt) to CFLs (at 70 lumens per watt) is hugely compelling, with a further move to LED lighting (at 100 lumens per watt) being even more compelling, although LED lighting prices obviously need to come way down.
RK Pachauri gave a great example of entrepreneurship and energy, speaking about training a woman to set up a solar panel to charge lanterns during the day that she could then rent out during the evening. At inception three years ago, such a system cost 4000 rupees; now, a new system is about to be announced that costs 1000 rupees, or about $21. That's progress.
More thoughts to follow...