Cats, Mice and Sustainable Energy - By LJ Furman

The author has recently earned an MBA in Managing for Sustainability at Marlboro College in Vermont.
Jan 26, 2011 8:35 PM ET
Campaign: 3BL Blogs

Cats, Mice and Sustainable Energy

"Join me in setting a new goal. By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.”  – President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 25, 2011.

When a mouse makes noise, only other mice and local cats take notice. When a lion roars, however, other lions, elephants, zebras, gazelles, smaller cats, mice...everyone notices. New Jersey is one of 27 states, which, like the District of Columbia, has a Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS, mandating that by a certain date, a specific target of a renewable energy capacity will be deployed.  An additional five states have non-binding goals.

(This are listed by the U. S. Dept. of Energy at Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,

In the “Garden State” the RPS is 22.5%, about 1.6 gigawatts (GW), by 2021.  New Jersey today, in January, 2011, has about 260 megawatts of renewable energy capacity. I am confident that it will meet, and possibly exceed its goal. We started with 9.0 kilowatts (KW) of photovoltaic solar in 2001. We were up to 211 megawatts (MW), by the end of September, 2010, and we added an additional 24 MW in December, 2010.  Even when you factor in 30 MW of biomass, 8 mw of wind power, and 1.5 mw of fuel cells, this is less than 20% of the goal of 1.6 gw. (This is shown at the NJ Clean Energy Program Renewable Energy Technologies page, The RPS in California is 33% by 2030.  In Texas, the RPS calls for 5,880 MW by 2015.  California , New Jersey and Texas are the roaring mice in domestic US clean energy policy.  And a cat – the lion in the Oval Office – the President of the United States – has listened. Last night he roared.

In his “State of the Union” address, January 25, 2011, President Obama set a lofty goal: “80% clean electric generation by 2035.” While I think we can do better – 100% clean renewable sustainable energy by 2025 – Obama's goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. It's SMART. It's also wise.

Lawrence J. Furman, MBA

732-580-0024 -