Ever since the White House declared energy independence a matter of national security, some unlikely evangelists in the Bush administration have been belting out the clean energy gospel. Case in point: Last week, Gale Norton presided over the first national renewable energy summit in history, co-hosted by the Departments of Interior and Energy.
With its cathedral ceilings and filigreed moldings, the conference room in the Interior building seemed, at first, like an unusually stately setting for such an event. After all, the renewable energy revolution has generally been regarded — not least by the two federal agencies throwing the event — as flower-power fringe.
But a sea change was in the air. For starters, the summit boasted standing-room only. The audience lined the walls, spilled out of the French doors, and even doubled up on the extra folding chairs. Senators, uniformed military officers, countless administrators from the DOE and DOI, and executives from Enron, BP Solar, and Seimens, among others, assembled before a stage-mounted conference table and a giant billboard sporting the slogan, “Expan... Read more