Politicians in U.S. and Canada to Support Renewable Energy

Governors from eastern New England states and premiers from eastern Canadian provinces have agreed to increase their support for renewable energy.

WESTBROOK, Connecticut, US, 2001-09-11 [SolarAccess.com] Governors from eastern New England states and premiers from eastern Canadian provinces have agreed to increase their support for renewable energy. The governors and premiers adopted a Climate Change Action Plan that includes measures to increase the use of renewables and energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their region. The agreement also sets the groundwork for exploring a regional system of trading credits for GHG emissions. The agreement was adopted at the annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in Connecticut. The region’s Climate Change Action Plan sets a short-term goal of reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, with a mid-term goal of reducing emissions to at least 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The short-term goal is less restrictive than the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for a U.S. reduction to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 while Canada would be obliged to reduce by 6 percent. The plan’s long-term goal has no specific time frame, but is designed to reduce GHG emissions to 75 to 85 percent below current levels. “Aggressive action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions toward the ultimate goals of stabilizing the earth’s climate and eliminating the negative impacts of climate change,” says the resolution. Without action, emissions of warming pollutants will experience a 20 percent increase in eastern Canada by 2020 over 1990 levels, and 30 percent in New England states. “The plan presents a set of near-term options for our region that would help protect the climate, reduce GHG emissions and other pollutants, cut energy demands, and promote future job growth by harnessing sustainable energy resources and advanced technologies,” it explains. “Demonstrating energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and sustainable practices should be a fundamental task of government,” says one action item dealing with government leadership. The goal is to reduce GHG within the public sector by 25 percent by 2012, without compromising government services or worker conditions, by piloting on-site renewable energy projects and establishing policies that all government expenditures related to energy conservation and efficiency will be adopted if they offer simple payback periods of less than ten years. A regional commitment to renewable energy in the generation of electricity was part of the action plan, which states that “increasing the use of renewable sources of energy in electricity production is an important means of improving fuel diversity, and thus the overall reliability of electrical supply.” A commitment to renewables “will encourage the development of new industries and the creation of new jobs in the region.” The goal is to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted per megawatt hour of electricity use by 20 percent of current emissions by 2025, through a combination of new solar, wind and bioenergy facilities, by using lower carbon fuels, increasing the efficiency of the electricity generation and transmission system and the use of new, efficient distributed generation. Conservation measures will be used to increase the amount of energy saved by 2025 (as measured in tonnes of GHG emissions) by 20 percent using programs designed to encourage residential, commercial, industrial and institutional energy conservation. Earlier in August, the National Governors Association adopted a comprehensive national energy policy at their annual meeting, which supported renewable energy and the promotion of conservation among its ten principles. That policy called for the “removal of barriers that discourage energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy resource development, and fuel diversity” and a call to “develop a diverse and flexible portfolio of fuel sources, including increased domestic production from renewable, alternative and conventional sources.” It supported federal incentives and continuing research of small-scale hydroelectric, photovoltaics, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and landfill gas, including environmental and economic impacts, as well as “support of technologies that assist in integrating renewable energy into existing energy systems,” and said interconnection rules and net meteringthat promote distributed generation from all types of renewable resources should be adopted.
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