Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A couple of CEOs on Energy

Yesterday, in class, I mentioned Jeff Immelt. Here is a piece from a few years ago - Immelt.

Here is another one from today's Fortune online. This time it is Fred Smith of FedEx.

So what are we waiting for???????


Siwan said...

despite the fact that i do not think we are running out of oil (every year there are new discoveries in the US, and around the world, i.e. on the West African coast around Saotome e Principe there are huge oil reserves that have not been explored), I agree that it is important to focus on developing affordable all-electric vehicles. However, i don't know how important it is that the US needs to be a pioneer in this area (even though I am sure it is anyway), as such vehicles produced elsewhere might be a lot cheaper and could better serve rising demand in the West. Of course this would create another kind of dependence and feeling of rising powerlessness on the US side. But I think we, as citizens of the world, just have to face the fact that in order to live together peacefully we need to accept inevitable high interdependence between the major players. we should focus on how to secure these dependency relationships and avoid escalations (i.e. Russia's pipeline incident with Georgia; China's rare earths incident with Japan, etc.). Even if we could overcome oil dependence, there will always be increasing dependence on more and more other commodities and resources.
Clearly, the development of electric cars has a lot more benefits for society than just decreasing oil dependence, especially with regard to negative environmental externalities. we should get to work.

curriee13 said...

Immelt – Although I am more the environmentalist than a n advocate of GE’s success (opposite of the way Immelt aligns himself in the matter) it is no less encouraging to hear that this company is making strides to combat the issue of US national dependency on oil, and that technologies of alternative energy are projected to do well in the future of the energy market.
FedEx – I agree with Siwan on the point that even though the US may be able to remedy the problem of its high oil dependency by encouraging the use of other forms of energy (namely electricity), this may only lead us to become dependent on other countries to satisfy this new need. However, I do believe that this is a step in the right direction since these electric cars do have less emissions and will hopefully only further raise American awareness of the environmental importance of working towards technologies that emit fewer and fewer pollutants.

ChampionJ said...

I really like Immelt's viewpoint on the economical advantages of clean energy even if it is for reasons other than improving the environment. I've heard many people express their opinion that clean energies are nothing but a part of a liberal agenda that will actually hurt the economy. It is great to hear someone somewhat dispel this rumor by arguing for clean energy for economical reasons instead of environmental stewardship. I do support his desire to further research and put clean technologies to use; however, I would like for GE to find a way to pursue this without government intervention.
As for Fred Smith of FedEx, I support the company's decision to go ahead with switching out traditional delivery trucks for electric trucks. Though the technology may not be equivalent in terms of power between electric and gas-powered vehicles, enough research is being done that breakthroughs will develop soon. Once again, this article displays the economic benefits of clean technologies over traditional technologies as Immelt said before. As for becoming dependent upon other countries for electric vehicles, Chevrolet has already released the Volt as the article stated. America has the technology to produce these vehicles. If the situation arises that we begin falling behind and becoming dependent upon other nations' vehicles, we could issue incentives for GM to catch up in order to avoid this dependence.
So what are we waiting for? I think we’re waiting for a clear sign that we’re falling behind in terms of technology that give other countries an advantage. If this were to happen, I believe the research and development of clean technologies would skyrocket.

David Dennis said...

GE- I agree that the sustainability/environmental movement should allow businesses that meet regulations to prosper. However, just switching over may prove difficult for some companies so a timeline should be set in place so that industries don’t collapse. People generally listen to economic incentives rather than ethics so we should push for companies to adopt clean technology.

FedEx- This article emphasizes the importance of reducing addiction to oil by switching to electric powered vehicles. Electricity can be generated in a variety of ways which would help spread the control over our energy uses. Before switching the entire industry to electric vehicles, the US has to have reliable sources of electricity to meet the demand of consumers.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree that FedEx is taking a step in the right direction by using electricity to power its trucks. I think FedEx is setting a good example and by being a leader for other companies who hopefully will follow suit. However, we still lack the infrastructure to support electric powered cars for mainstream consumers. Consumers will need places where they can recharge their cars if they choose to purchase models like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. There are one or two charging stations in the parking lot by the Hillel House, but they will need to be more prevalent in order for consumers to adopt this technology. I think this is potentially a huge area of growth for businesses to provide charging stations to support electric powered cars. Over winter break, I spoke with the president of Recharge Power, a Cleveland-based company that is installing recharging stations throughout the city. The charging stations are located in parking lots near buildings, so people can charge their cars while at work. Hopefully in the near future, there will be enough charging stations so that people won't have to worry about running out of power and the popularity of the technology will sky rocket.