Today the “Gigaton Throwdown” results were released publicly in Washington DC with a number of the Obama Administration’s clean tech and green gurus (namely John Holdren – director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Van Jones – Obama’s Green Jobs Advisor, Cathy Zoi – Assistant Secretary of Energy for EE and RE, and David Sandalow – Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs) and their staff in attendance. But with a name like “Gigaton Throwdown”, this is obviously not a Washington initiative. It was conceived of by a group of Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley who wondered – beyond whether their investments would make the money – would they make a difference? So they enlisted the help of other investors, entrepreneurs, executives and leading academics, to analyze which clean technologies have the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 1 billion metric tons (a gigaton) per year by 2020.
Of the nine technologies they studied — Biofuels, Building efficiency, Concentrating solar power, Construction materials, Geothermal, Nuclear, Plug in Hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVS), Solar photovoltaics, and Wind – they found that seven are “ready to scale up aggressively today.” Wind is on track to produce a gigaton reduction in GHG emissions by 2020 at its current growth rate, but the other technologies would require a 3x expansion in investment, bringing clean energy investment up to the current level of investment in fossil fuels. They point out that many of these technologies have been widely deployed and proven, but rapid scaling will require stable policy support and long-term thinking on the part of the government.
They determined that these technologies would then be able to meet more than 60% of global energy demand and the scale-up would create more than 4.5 million jobs, a vibrant new sector in the U.S. economy, and a clean energy policy that ensures domestic security.
The full report and additional materials are at: http://www.gigatonthrowdown.org