Bioenergy, Wind Power

Striving for the Government’s “Ear” on Renewables

Not only is it hard to for the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries to secure helpful legislation and funding from the Federal Government, it’s hard enough just to get their attention sometimes.

In a letter sent to the Senate, 27 of the organizations comprising the Sustainable Energy Coalition requested that the Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convene a conference to examine the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to meet U.S. energy needs. The letter noted that the Committee had convened a similar conference on natural gas issues in January and was planning a forum on coal in March. It suggested that a similar venue on “the range and characteristics of renewable energy resources and the mix of sustainable energy and energy efficient technologies (including Combined Heat and Power, fuel cells, and renewable hydrogen) would be very helpful to the Committee in identifying both short term and long term actions that address our current fossil fuel shortages, our stressed electricity delivery systems, and a number of environmental concerns.” The organizations pointed out that “the energy savings realized each year through energy efficiency measures since the 1970s are larger than the amount of energy we produce or consume from any single energy source. In this sense, efficiency has proven to be our nation’s largest energy resource and should be our first recourse in a sustainable energy policy. “Furthermore, renewable energy presently provides about 8 percent of the nation’s domestic energy production while, on a percentage basis, technologies such as wind, biofuels, and photovoltaic cells are among the nation’s fastest growing sources of energy supply. Collectively, renewable energy sources contribute more to the nation’s energy supply than do so-called clean coal technologies.” While acknowledging that “a portion of the earlier Natural Gas Conference was devoted to looking at sustainable energy alternatives and that may the intent for the forthcoming Coal Conference as well,” the groups argued that “it is a great mistake to view energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies as being merely adjuncts or supplements to natural gas, coal, oil, or nuclear. Not only are sustainable energy technologies major contributors in their own right to the nation’s overall current energy mix, as earlier noted, they are poised to become the primary components in the years to come.” The full text of the letter and list of signers can be found at the following link.