Lung Association Encourages Renewable Energy

The California government should give first priority to energy efficiency and second priority to the development of wind, geothermal and solar energy as it attempts to solve the state’s energy situation.

SACRAMENTO, California, US, 2001-06-06 [] Air quality and public health considerations must be central to any plan to meet short and long term electricity supply needs, and the American Lung Association of California adds that diesel generators should be used only in emergency situations. “The cleanest alternative sources of power for electricity generation include energy conservation, efficiency, load management and renewable energy sources,” says a position statement adopted unanimously by the association’s board of directors on June 2. “Reducing energy consumption is clearly the cleanest source of power because it can immediately reduce the need for additional power generation facilities to meet peak electricity needs and can serve as a sustainable source of energy for the future.” Energy conservation and load management programs would include incentive programs to encourage the purchase of energy efficient appliances, and incentives to encourage reduced energy consumption and shifting of demand to non-peak periods. California must make investment in energy conservation programs “the highest priority for energy policy” to ensure the maximum adoption by consumers. “Renewable energy sources, including wind, geothermal and solar power also provide a clean, sustainable alternative source of power,” explains the statement. “State action is needed to make renewable energy a much higher priority for state energy policy in order to reduce the need for conventional power generation units.” State actions would include tax credits, low-interest loans and other financial incentives to encourage renewed investment in renewables, as well as installation and utilization of renewable energy systems by consumers. There must be full compliance with state and federal Clean Air Acts, and air quality laws must be upheld to improve air and public health, and reduce suffering from lung disease, says the statement. ALAC urges that government give priority to the cleanest sources of electricity, with first priority to energy efficiency and load management programs, second priority to the development of renewables, and third priority to natural gas as the next cleanest possible conventional power sources. If any American Lung organization in California supports or opposes the development of new generating facilities, the position taken by that local lung group must be consistent with the ALAC position, it explains. ALAC opposes any efforts to increase reliance on diesel powered portable or back-up generators to meet non-emergency energy needs “because of the high pollution emissions and cancer risks.” The 11,000 diesel back-up generators in the state should be used only during actual black-out situations where the grid fails, and should not be allowed for routine use to generate power. Electricity generation facilities are responsible for much of the state’s air pollution, and ALAC suggests that emissions could be reduced by use of a daily ‘environmental dispatch’ to ensure that the cleanest sources available in the system are brought on-line throughout the state at any given time to meet energy needs. “Because electrical generation in California generates significant air pollution emissions, California must place a high priority on pursuing the cleanest possible sources of electricity to meet demand in the short and long-term, while taking all possible actions to reduce pollution emissions from existing sources,” concludes the position statement. “Energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable sources of power are the cleanest available sources, and the State should place top priority on developing these sources before looking to alternative methods of meeting electricity demand.”
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