The National Science Board (NSB, www.nsf.gov/nsb/) released for public review and comment a draft report, Building a Sustainable Energy Future, which calls on the nation to lead the fundamental transformation of the current energy economy from one that is dependent on fossil fuel to one that thrives on sustainable and clean energy.
According to the NSB, it collaborated with colleagues and stakeholders throughout the federal, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors to draft the document, which addresses the challenges and opportunities for sustainable energy in the 21st century. The NSB recommends that the U.S. government develop and lead a nationally coordinated research, development demonstration, deployment, and education (RD3E) strategy to advance a sustainable energy economy that is significantly less carbon-intensive. According to the NSB, a sustainable energy economy values environmental and ecosystem stewardship as well as clean, equitable, reliable, renewable, safe, secure, and economically viable energy strategies and solutions.
The NSB offers priority guidance for the National Science Foundation (NSF, www.nsf.gov) to increase its emphasis on innovation in sustainable energy technologies and education.
According to the NSB, trends for the next quarter to half century suggest little change in the future global energy mix without concerted international action. Further, the board says the scale and speed of adopting sustainable and clean energy technologies fall short of what is necessary to address today”s challenges, which it says will only become more acute with the passage of time.
The NSB developed its draft report through the work of its Task Force on Sustainable Energy, which was created in October 2007. The Task Force is designed to examine ways in which the federal government could address the science and engineering challenges related to building a sustainable energy future in the United States.
In 2008, the Task Force held three public roundtable discussions in Washington, D.C.; Golden, Colo.; and Berkeley, Calif. Soon thereafter, the task force developed recommendations concerning a national sustainable energy strategy, with a specific emphasis on defining NSF”s role in carrying out the strategy.
The NSB’s draft report is available at, www.nsf.gov/nsb/committees/se/pub_comment.jsp. E-mail comments to NSBenergy@nsf.gov. The public review and comment period is open until 5 p.m. EST, Fri., May 1, 2009.