Terry Tamminem, owner of two hydrogen-powered cars and an adviser to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, offered a stirring defense of renewable energy Tuesday.
“By 2020, I don’t think anybody will consider buying a home without solar and a smart meter to control it,” Tamminen, now CEO of Seventh Generation Advisors, told an audience at the Total Energy USA Conference.
But he quickly was followed by another speaker who said renewable energy would continue to play only a small role in the nation’s energy portfolio, as natural gas offers a broader range of possibilities.
“It’s really not an either/or picture,” suggested a third speaker, Russ Conser, who leads the GameChanger Team at Shell Oil, charged with searching for new ideas in energy technology.
Unlike most of the energy conferences held in Houston, the Total Energy USA Conference and Expo, which continues through Thursday, is intended to cover both fossil fuels and renewable energy, dealing with common issues and looking for what President Barack Obama called an “all of the above” energy strategy.
“We are not trying to be a wind show,” said Total Energy USA President Vincent Polito. “We are not trying to be an oil and gas show. We are trying to talk about the intersections – water, the electric grid, transportation. We have sessions on workforce development. The employment problem cuts across all areas.”
John Ragan, executive vice president at NRG Energy and chairman of the conference’s executive committee, noted that Houston long has been recognized as the oil and gas capital. The conference is intended to nudge the city toward participating in the growth of sustainable energy fields, he said.