“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” ~ Alan Kay
Such was the undertone, both stated & unstated, at last week’s NW Solar Summit which gathered area innovators and orchestrators for updates, strategy and collaboration involved in Washington’s role in the way forward through renewable energy.
Underlined by a compiled publication debuted at the conference, Washington Sunrise 2030 highlighted the key areas to be discussed in “mapping the state’s path to energy freedom” through conservation, efficiency, building retrofit & transportation:
“Washington, with its unique weather patterns, hydrobased energy economy, and diverse resource portfolio is capable of achieving a carbon-neutral, renewable energy economy by 2030.”
One of the first in the long list of informative presenters began with the premise that conservation can provide 85% of Washington’s energy needs through 2030 – the question then left is, where do we get the remaining 15%? The story of learning to manage the intermittency challenges of hydro (pumped-storage hydro) will inform handling the learning curve of solar in our area as well he stated, and the opportunities to combine the technological advances of both with those of our growing area wind generating capacity abound.
Others continued to speak of the current state of the industry as being that of such that our energy crisis is a crisis of the imagination, expounding upon the possibilities of melding solar power generation and the growing electric car movement, pointing to work being done by companies such as ECOtality.
Meeting development needs and challenges creatively were illuminated by work being done in Portland, Austin, Minneapolis & Chicago. A fascinating look at Seattle’s own efforts were summarized in an update on Seattle 2030 District and Seattle Climate Partnership, a sector by sector implementation of Getting to Zero:
The discussion did not ignore it’s title participant – solar – with exciting developments for Washington incentives for funding and sourcing from local technology being successfully implemented by various local communities. Even the NYT pointed to the opportunities available in this sector in the week since the conference.