January 11, 2016
Zichal on Climate Change and Energy Technology
Heather Zichal, a former assistant to Obama on energy and climate change, said the president's Clean Power Plan is already pushing utilities to shift to cleaner fuels — to natural gas, for example, over coal — and to add wind and solar. The controversial plan requires states to cut carbon pollution emissions by an average of about 30 percent below 2005 levels.
Costs are falling for renewable energy, solar in particular, and improvements in storing power will broaden its adoption, said Zichal, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. "We have to stop acting like this is an insurmountable challenge.
"It's not going to happen overnight ... but there are great opportunities," she said, adding that Americans also will see energy efficiency gains in smart technology that manages the grids that deliver electricity to consumers, who also can monitor energy use in their homes. "Some of those technologies exist today — and some are still in the heads of our great innovators," Zichal said.