DuPont Scholarship Essay

Submitted By giveherwings
Words: 815
Pages: 4

Kimberly Seals
Dupont Science Essay Competition
December 04, 2010 THE ANSWER IS BLOWING IN THE WIND We live in a nation where money is the catalyst for all our ideas, but with the recent economic downturn money has become an increasingly limited resource in the United States. When NASA put man on the moon the nation threw millions of dollars at the program until we found what worked, and now the space program is in jeopardy. We can’t just throw money at our energy problem. Developing a climate change policy will require an entire new level of ingenuity from the government if we are to find a solution that we can afford in the face of our current economic adversity. President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address, “But if anyone from either party has a better approach…let me know.” So here goes: There is a way to solve this problem. Legislation is needed to encourage the development of a clean, renewable, and affordable alternative to coal-burning power plants: that alternative is wind energy. Currently, the U.S. has announced plans to maintain the use of coal as a practical option in a country with a deteriorating economy. Work must proceed in a logical manner, one technological objective building upon another with the upgrade of major coal powered systems proceeding in proven increments. The EPRI’s technology path for coal aims at two critical targets. The first is to improve the efficiency of coal base-load plants with CO2 capture to the 43-45 percent range by 2030. A two percent efficiency gain translated into a CO2 emissions reduction of nearly five percent. The second target: ensure that coal plants built after 2020 can capture CO2 from emission steams and that the CO2 can be permanently stored. President Obama’s budget proposes that Congress auction 100% of all emission allowances under a cap-and-trade system. For months, the Senate has haggled over particulars to develop emission permits, called allowances, equal to the number of tons allowed annually under the cap. How these allowances are dispersed is a key question under any cap-and-trade plan. The Environmental Protection Agency could auction them to the highest bidder or give them away for free. Either way, at the end of every year, each entity that is regulated under the plan would need to submit one allowance to the EPA for every ton of CO2 they emitted during the year. Alternatively, companies could submit, “offsets” to the EPA in lieu of allowances. Offsets are projects, like planting trees, which take CO2 out of the atmosphere as a way of “offsetting” the emissions added to the atmosphere from a power plant or other source to ensure there is a hard ceiling on the program’s costs. Coal-powered electricity is the largest industrial source of air pollution in the world and the demand for electricity continues to rise. If we meet this demand by burning more coal then we can only expect pollution to rise as well. Climate change legislation offers a momentous opportunity to develop our nation’s ability to harness wind energy and make a significant down payment on emissions reduction. Our current fleet of wind turbines produces over