John Sarrao/Photo Courtesy LANL
BY JOHN SARRAO
Deputy Director for Science, Technology & Engineering
Los Alamos National Laboratory
By embracing a science-based and community-supported roadmap to a carbon-neutral future, New Mexico and the intermountain West can protect vital energy-sector jobs and create rewarding new employment opportunities, stimulate new clean-energy industries in local communities, and keep tax revenues flowing while transitioning to a sustainable economy.
We have a unique opportunity to make this happen through the Intermountain West Energy Sustainability & Transitions (I-WEST) coalition. Sponsored by the Department of Energy and led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, this broadly inclusive coalition brings together states, regional universities and colleges, research institutions, local communities and tribal entities to create a sustainable-energy economy.
Through workshops and outreach activities, I-WEST will partner with local communities throughout the Rocky Mountains, including sovereign Native American nations, to learn about their unique concerns and needs regarding jobs, energy use and environmental stewardship.
We call this a “place-based” approach — putting people first.
Guided by that grassroots input, Los Alamos and our partners will apply our scientific and technical expertise to take advantage of a diverse portfolio of renewable energy resources to achieve 100% carbon neutrality in 15 years. We can do that while repurposing existing energy production infrastructure, protecting the jobs of energy workers and supporting them in developing new skills to build high-quality careers in the emerging CO2- and hydrogen-based economy.