CTO Design Challenge I: “Avoiding Climate Catastrophe: Applying FiRe CTO Solutions to the Region

A panel with Brenda Cooper, Futurist, Science Fiction Author, and CIO, City of Kirkland, Washington; Janice Nickel, Senior Scientist Hewlett-Packard Laboratories; and Larry Smarr, Director, Calit2 Laboratory University of California – San Diego and Irvine, led by Ty Carlson, Architect, SiArch, Microsoft

Larry Smarr:
The reduction of fossil fuel and land use must peak 4 years from now, be 50% lower by 2050.

How can we do this?
Electrical generation systems: Need to install 30 cape winds every year until 2050, 50 solar arrays of 36,000 dishes every year
Liquid fuels: We need plug-in hybrids, all-electric and fuel-cell cars to dominate sales after 2030; this implies critical global trade with China to fulfill our needs

Top corporate leaders, including Bill Gates developed a plan this summer, calling for massive energy overhaul to revolutionize US energy scene.

Seattle is the most interesting city because eof discussion underway about making it carbon-neutral. This bottom up from the cities and corporate factor is what’s going to save the day. Not government.

Ty Carlson
Locally, there are operational solar and wind facilities currently in WA. There are also a large number of additional proposed sites.

Solar is growing far less than wind in WA and OR; we have a ways to go in that area, but both sectors are growing. We need more leaders in the private sector and government to make this happen and to encourage growth and development in the alternative energy field.

What tools can we use?
Solar is the technology that scales- DOE goal is to reduce cost to $1/watt by 2017

Water is pumped through hundreds of miles of canals and drains (uncovered). These should be covered, to reduce evaporation, with solar panels to produce more energy.

Wind is WA’s largest source of energy.

Janice Nickel:
Underutilized tools for improving climate change: brilliant buildings, smarter building control systems to reduce emission from buildings, new transmission materials (getting smarter about how we move energy and information)

We should produce and consume electricity more locally: Solar panels can be applied to the house. Thermal elcrics can be used to create energy from smoke stacks, steam stacks. More will is needed to bring this kind of energy and electricity online.

Storage and management: Make the grid more efficient as a distributed energy source. Revolutionizing the battery to improve storage.

Brenda Cooper:

“Unless we radically change what we’re doing, we’re not going to have enough clean energy and we’re going to end up radically changing our climate and environment”

We need leadership to generate sufficient awareness on this.
Government might not be the most effective, but must PUSH the private sector to improve.

Citizens must also hold government accountable in a way that galvanizes change. Money is often not leveraged to the fullest. We all need to move forward together.

Recommended incentives: tax incentives work quite well to encourage private reduction of energy consumption, rewards for R&D for corporations, informing consumers to see their energy use to motivate them to act responsibly.

Larry: “This drama is going to be played out in China”
How can they continue to grow their economy, which has to be energy based. China just went in and closed 1200 of their most polluting coal factories. They have the most alt. energy sources of anywhere in the world, but they also have an incredibly large scale that they’re going to have to be bringing in in the next 10 years.

“Engagement is the most critical thing. It’s not technology.”

Ty: Chinese pollution is reaching the West Coast. “By innovating the technology, developing the technology, by exporting the technology to China, we can actually save ourselves”