The Sustainable Energy Institute was incorporated in January 2000 with the aims of improving public awareness and understanding worldwide of the debates over future energy supply and demand options and their implications, and enhancing democratic decision making on energy technologies. SEI is currently inactive, bust is maintaining its website for reference purposes, and may resume operation in the future.
SEI was approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in June 2000.
The Institute focused attention on:
a) Potential technological solutions to meeting energy needs, including energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, nuclear power, carbon sequestration and other technologies, as well as alternative transportation fuels and smart growth strategies.
b) The prospects for each technology to contribute to increasing future energy supply or reducing demand in a manner consistent with sustainable growth requirements (i.e., satisfying requirements for public health and safety, environmental protection, global peace and stability and affordability).
c) Steps that would be required to improve those prospects.
As an independent voice SEI's goal was to promote dialogue and debate in various countries, aiming to improve public and political information on technology options for future energy supply and demand. SEI also intends to conduct further project activities to examine sustainable energy technologies. SEIís directors believe that the promotion of sustainable energy policies and practices will be critical to the future health of the global environment and the quality of life in developed and developing countries. Pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, as well as forest resources, is one of the most serious forms of environmental degradation in the world today. Transboundary-pollution problems related to energy emissions can cause international tensions.
Nuclear energy is promoted by some as a potential policy solution to the burning of fossil fuels, yet there are concerns over nuclear safety, proliferation of weapons-usable materials, waste disposal and the cost of building new plants. Renewable energy technologies are promoted by others, but there are debates over the cost and ultimate potential market penetration for these options.
With growing demand for energy in most of the world, improvements in energy efficiency and transition away from highly-polluting energies must occur. If not, then pollution problems ranging from poor urban air quality to global climate change will inevitably grow worse. We believe that the actions and policies of advanced industrial nations set a precedent that may be followed by the rest of the world. Therefore, it is critically important at this time to focus public attention on possible approaches to maximizing energy security and sustainability in the advanced industrialized nations.
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