The Energy Summit was full of optimism and enthusiasm. For many of us, the far-out is now possible. Distant from the regulatory proceedings on cost effectiveness, avoided costs, “market price referents” and the like, the Summit was about a vision and its execution. There’s been so much progress; the participants are fueled.

The term “preferred resources” points to how the times have changed. No not nuclear or gas turbines, but efficiency, demand response, storage, and distributed generation. These preferred resources are “no longer crumbs on the table.”  They are now prime time.

Notions of net plus buildings and a 100% renewable portfolio standard were accepted and relished. Germany has a goal of 80% renewables by 2050; Angelina Galiteva is pushing for 100% in California. We are at the inflection point in the J-curve of carbon-free energy… many early advocates living a dream. According to the Solar Foundation in Washington, D.C., there are now 119,000 solar jobs in America.

The Summit featured a conversation with actress and environmentalist Daryl Hannah. The room swelled. Discounted by some at first, Hannah presented the Summit’s most holistic perspectives. Genuine with concern, she expressed concern for the climate; she presented views on the energy/food nexus; then she surprised the audience with her grasp of feed-in tariffs and German, Spanish, and Italian prowess with solar.  She’s not a fan of the green movement: “It’s all about life support systems… the air, water, and earth… These are not partisan issues, they should not divide us.”

David Nahai said it earlier, there is much to be applauded. There is unprecedented collaboration between state agencies, regulated utilities, and the private sector. The desert gathering appealed to all three. We were in the desert, a vortex of clean and green activity, a crazy setting of turbines, beating sunshine, dust, beauty, heat. In the unlikely location of the Coachella Valley, a once sleepy agricultural area turned tourist haven, a region is now leading the nation’s energy future in lockstep with the pillars of reasonable cost, reliability, and environmental responsibility.

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