Steven Chu On Solar Power – The Apollo Projects Of Our Time

In an online town hall held today dubbed “Energy Matters”, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu discussed President Obama’s Clean Energy and Innovation Agenda announced during the State of the Union speech yesterday – and comparisons to the space race featured heavily.
   
Secretary Chu made references to his previous comments about the USA facing a Sputnik moment in relation to energy and President Obama’s vision of up three new major energy innovation hubs, which will be the “Apollo projects of our time”.
   
Secretary Chu said part of the goal of these hubs would be to develop the technology to reduce the cost of solar panel based solar energy to a quarter of what it is today by the end of the decade – and without subsidies. He compared the push towards the goal with the space race “moonshot” project – calling it a “sunshot”.
   
In regard to the goal of the USA achieving 80% of its electricity generated from clean energy sources by 2035, he said the nation was already halfway there based on the broad definition of clean energy. Further clarifying, Secretary Chu said in terms of zero emissions electricity generation, such as hydro, wind energy and solar power; the USA was at over the 30% mark.
   
The clean energy goals have generated some controversy since the State of the Union announcement considering “clean coal” was also included in President Obama’s speech. Some argue that clean coal is an oxymoron and has no role in a clean energy future aside from being a stepping stone – and that all fossil fuels need to be removed from the energy mix.
 
The full “Energy Matters” online town hall video replay can be viewed here