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CEOs & Generals Plug In; Iceland Giving Up on Hydrogen

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  • Felix Kramer
    Here are two stories about policy trends: influential US constituencies are getting more specific about electrifying transportation; Iceland is moving toward
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 2008
      Here are two stories about policy trends:
      influential US constituencies are getting more
      specific about electrifying transportation;
      Iceland is moving toward plug-in cars and giving
      up its fuel-cell dreams, while US media continue
      to echo past hopes for a someday solution from hydrogen.

      Securing America's Future Energy
      http://www.secureenergy.org has been focusing on
      the issue of energy security since its "Oil
      Shockwave" simulations in 2005-06, where former
      government officials role-played cabinet officers
      reacting to geopolitical catastrophes and energy
      disruptions. A transition to plug-in cars
      repeatedly emerged as an urgent priority. (Search
      for "shockwave" among the headlines at http://www.calcars.org/news-archive .)

      The organization then formed a blue-ribbon Energy
      Security Leadership Council, co-chaired by Fred
      Smith, FedEx founder and chair, and General P.X.
      Kelly, former Marine Corps commandant and Joint
      Chiefs of Staff member. Its December 2006 64-page
      report, "Recommendations to the Nation on
      Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence"
      http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/622.html ,
      endorsed plug-in hybrids along with many other
      recommendations. The ESLC was deeply involved in
      the debate and negotiation over what eventually
      became the Energy Independence and Security Act
      of 2007, the bipartisan energy bill which despite
      limitations included the first improvements in CAFE standards since the 1970s.

      Now ESLC has a new and even more hard-hitting
      report, "A National Strategy for Energy
      Security." You can download it at
      (8MB). Recommendations on pages 8-9 include an
      $8,000 tax credit for two million plug-in cars.
      Pages 34-44 are about plug-in cars and the smart
      grid. The very readable, well-researched and
      well-designed 140-page report includes many
      non-green technology, often, however, acknowledging their CO2 emissions.

      PRESS RELEASE: "SAFE Launches Television, Print,
      Online Ads In Support of 9/24 Report Release"

      WASHINGTON - Securing America's Future Energy
      (SAFE) today announced the launch of a
      television, print, and online advertising
      campaign emphasizing the necessity for
      comprehensive solutions to the tremendous
      economic and national security vulnerabilities
      posed by oil dependence. The ads will run in
      support of the Wednesday release of a new,
      comprehensive plan to combat our nation's dependence on oil.

      "Tomorrow, the business and military leaders of
      SAFE's Energy Security Leadership Council will
      lay out their comprehensive, detailed plan to end
      our destructive dependence on oil," SAFE
      President and CEO Robbie Diamond said. "It is
      important that policymakers and thought leaders
      understand the dangers that we face, and the
      necessity for a bold solution to take us off of
      our current dangerous path. We can change our
      future, through electrification of the
      transportation system, vehicle fuel economy
      standards, expanded domestic production of oil
      and natural gas, and greater support for R&D. We
      have a choice. The solution is there: now it is time to act."

      The television ads will run on broadcast and
      cable stations in Washington, D.C. The print and
      online ads will appear in Washington and Capitol Hill publications.

      THE ADS include images of battlefields and
      buildings, with ominous music.See them at
      http://www.secureenergy.org/site/page.php?node=343 . Here are the transcripts:

      Warned (30 seconds):
      For almost three decades, America has been
      warned: Oil dependence threatens our economy and our security.
      Twenty-one business and national security leaders
      have proposed a bold plan to improve U.S. energy security.
      The approach: fuel economy standards;
      electrification of the transportation sector;
      increased domestic production; and enhanced government R&D.
      Oil dependence is the problem. Now, there’s an answer.
      A project of Securing America’s Future Energy.

      Choices (30 seconds):
      America must choose between two energy security futures:
      In one future, our nation improves energy
      security through fuel economy standards;
      electrification of the transportation sector;
      expanded domestic production; and enhanced government R&D.
      In the other, America continues business as usual
      and risks a crippling oil crisis.
      Choose wisely.
      Oil dependence is the problem. Now there’s an answer.
      A project of Securing America’s Future Energy.

      ICELAND GOES ELECTRIC: Last year we presented at
      Iceland's first Driving Sustainability conference
      and arranged for the nation's energy agency to
      get a PHEV Prius conversion. Most people have the
      impression that the country is well on its way to
      a future based on hydrogen fueled by its
      renewable hydro and geothermal power. At
      "Iceland's First Steps Toward Plug-In Cars --
      with Global Implications"
      http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/861.htmll ,
      we reported, "The decision to hold this
      conference was the strongest sign yet that the
      votes aren't yet in. As elsewhere, Icelandic
      influencers looking for efficient solutions that
      can be implemented now, with today's technology
      and infrastructure, and that can become
      increasingly cost-effective, are choosing a path
      involving electrons and batteries, not hydrogen and fuel cells."

      This year's conference confirmed that trend.
      Longtime environmental journalist Jim Motavalli
      reports that "Iceland’s Future Could Be Electric"
      September 19, 2008

      “We see Iceland as the world’s laboratory for a
      decarbonized future,” Ingibjörg Sólrún
      Gisladóttir, Iceland’s foreign minister, said
      last year. Of course, she was talking about the
      country’s plan, announced in 1998, to become to
      the world’s first hydrogen-based energy economy.
      Iceland wants to be free of fossil fuels by 2050.

      Could the hydrogen dream be dying? At a Reykjavik
      conference this week, “Driving Sustainability
      ’08,” Iceland announced plans to team up with
      Mitsubishi Motors to supply the country with a
      fleet of tiny i-MiEV electric cars (which have a
      range per charge of about 100 miles with
      lithium-ion batteries). Iceland is likely to be
      the first European country to have i-MiEVs, which
      are scheduled to go on sale in Japan in the summer of 2009.

      Electric cars with strategically located charging
      stations make a lot of sense for Iceland, where
      75 percent of the country’s residents live within 37 miles of the capital city.

      “Hydrogen cars are not mass produced anywhere,”
      said Teitur Torkelsson, managing partner of FTO
      Sustainable Solutions. “But a majority of car
      makers are announcing electric cars to be
      produced in the next four or five years, so it
      becomes a big part of our energy solutions.” Even
      the country’s 840-mile-long ring road could
      theoretically be covered with just 14 fast-charging stations.

      CONFERENCE PRESS RELEASE excerpts: "An Agreement
      on Electric Vehicles Fleet Testing and Service
      Network for Iceland Reached at 'Driving
      Sustainability 2008' International Energy
      Congress" http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=237410

      "In the next five years or so we have to lay the
      fundamental groundwork of a comprehensive
      transformation of our traffic system, our
      transport, how we use the roads, how we move from
      one place to another, whether it is a household
      or a city or a country." said Olafur Ragnar
      Grímsson, President of Iceland, in his opening
      address at Driving Sustainability at Hilton
      Reykjavik Thursday....Referring to Iceland as a
      role model and meeting place on the subject on
      clean energy, [Grímsson] stated; "We have
      formulated the vision and the ambition to get rid
      of fossil fuel completely in a reasonably short time."

      HYDROGEN JUXTAPOSITION: After reading the Iceland
      report in the online NY Timies, we see that
      today's print edition includes a new special
      section, "Buinsess of Green." The lead article
      and almost a full page inside feature "Pumping
      Hydrogen," by Jad Mouawad,
      that reads like other optimistic stories of the
      past, with impatient and frustrated quotes from
      GM, Honda and Shell, "balanced" quotes from the
      Natural Resources Defense Council and the same
      caveats about decades-away promises and
      timetables. The journalist does not show any
      understanding that hydrogen comes either from
      natural gas, a fossil fuel, or from wind/solar
      with conversion losses in electrolysis that mean
      the green power should either go into batteries
      or be used to displace coal generation. The news
      in the story is Shell opening a hydrogen fueling
      station in Santa Monica. Hydrogen Hype never
      seems to go away, but the Chevy Volt prototype
      that will seen by more than 10,000 people in
      Santa Monica at AltCar Expo
      http://www.altcarexpo.com this Friday and Saturday will illustrate the chasm.

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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