A green energy advocate is traversing a 2,500-mile journey from Colorado to Washington, D.C. on a hybrid electric bike to pressure the United States government to establish a full renewable electricity grid by 2020.
Tom Weis began his trek at the wind technology center of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado on Sunday and will end it in Washington, D.C. in November.
Over the course of eight weeks, Mr. Weis will pass by different solar, wind and geothermal sites to highlight their efficiency. He will also visit locations where there are coal burning, nuclear power and mountaintop removal mining activities to evaluate their deficiencies.
For instance, practices of mountaintop removal mining, a type of coal mining that removes all successive upper layers of rock and broad perimeters of lower rock layers, destroy the Appalachian communities and ecosystems.
«The urgency of our economic and planetary meltdown demands modern-day green energy ‘moon shot’ for America,» said Mr. Weis, referring to the United States’ great feat of being the first to land on moon. He believes that the nation should likewise pioneer a revolutionary action toward a low-carbon economy by setting bold targets.
While many countries, especially coal giant China, already established their 2020 renewable energy targets, the United States continues to hesitate as Congress battles over the costs, benefits and the definition of its national renewable energy standard.
Mr. Weis intends to spur more discussions on the country’s energy and climate policies and encourage participation among the grassroots in the green energy transition.
Various environmental and business leaders supporting Mr. Weis’ 2,500-mile campaign urge the government to immediately act on climate change. They believe that the call for a 100 percent renewable energy grid is realistic and will generate economic benefits for the whole country.
James Walker, former president of the American Wind Energy Association, said the wind energy industry created 85, 000 jobs over a five-year period and is actually cost-competitive with coal.
The United States’ renewable energy consumption, which already includes solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass and wind energy, accounted for only about 8 percent in 2009. The country’s petroleum and coal consumptions are almost four times and three times larger, respectively, than renewable energy.