A Recap of last week’s U.S. Green Chamber Event at the University of California, San Diego.
Energy 2020: Opportunities in the Green Industrial Revolution was hosted by the U.S. Green Chamber and UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering, with sponsorship by SDG&E.
Irene M. Stillings, U.S. Green Chamber President and former California Center of Sustainable Energy Executive Director, was the keynote speaker. Irene is a prominent leader in Clean Energy and has over 35 years of energy industry experience. She began our discussion by summarizing how drastically human consumption of energy and natural resources has increased since the Industrial Revolution. She went over areas of progression in sustainable efforts, including increased awareness and innovations in renewables, and she emphasized the fact that green jobs cannot be outsourced. Irene also stressed that while we have a long way to go, we also have the power to achieve real change.
Guest speaker and Director of Sustainable Programs at NRG Energy, Peter Hamilton, elaborated upon Irene’s point that while daunting, sustainable change in energy production and use is possible. He said real progress is evidenced by the fact that so much has already been achieved through the efforts of real people, by groups of like-minded individuals such as Irene and organizations like CCSE. Peter cited the state of California as a leading example in adoption of both conservation practices and renewable efforts. Peter was frank in his discussion of “Energy 2020” and the reality that with consumption increasing faster than the adoption of renewable alternatives, the energy revolution called for in the United States will certainly take more than the next seven years to achieve.
Mike Evans, a surprise guest from Shell Energy, added an overview of managing peak usage hours and integrating intermittent renewables such as wind and hydro energy as effective methods of reducing our overall footprint. He said the drawback of methods such as hydro energy, which has one of the lowest footprints, is the high cost of development renders it uneconomical at this time. Evans also spoke of encouraging new job opportunities in the clean energy industry.
The speakers ended with a brief panel discussion of consumption mitigation, nuclear energy, and how small businesses can go green through subsidized solar panel installations and membership with the U.S. Green Chamber. The event concluded with great food, live music, and active networking between students, businesses, and our featured industry experts.