Large Companies to Spend Millions to Study Renewables

A large foundation will award US$10 million to add a new dimension to energy policy issues.

MENLO PARK, California, US, 2001-08-25 [] A large foundation will award US$10 million to add a new dimension to energy policy issues. The initiative of the Hewlett Foundation will focus on energy supply and conservation issues in California and western regions of the United States, and will support the development of comprehensive, balanced and practical national energy policy options. By sponsoring analysis of contemporary energy issues, the Foundation’s objective is to enable a wide range of research institutions to bring new ideas into the energy debate, including the role of renewables. “Too often, critical public policy questions such as the energy debate are polarized before the discussion begins,” says Foundation chairman Walter Hewlett. “This project is designed to fill a number of information gaps in the debate and seek to establish a ‘center ground’ of ideas that respond to the need for a sensible long-term energy policy in the United States.” Over the next two years, the Foundation’s initiative will sponsor new environmental research, economic and policy analyses, and experimental conservation projects. The scope of programs will address both energy supply and conservation challenges, and apply practical cost-benefit analysis at the intersection of energy economics and environmental science. The Foundation will involve diverse stakeholders such as the energy industry, environmental groups and other non-government organizations, academic institutions, think tanks, government policymakers, and consumers. “The Hewlett Foundation takes pride in supporting bipartisan or multi-partisan approaches to controversial public policy issues,” says president Paul Brest. “In the political arena, controversial issues tend to push interest groups into conventional alignments.” “The energy initiative is designed to inform this polarized debate with reliable data and sound analysis,” he adds. “We hope to generate new ideas that challenge the conventional dichotomy between energy and conservation.” The Hewlett Foundation is selecting participants to define the scope of various projects and says it will not entertain unsolicited proposals. As the project advances, scientific reports, analysis, and other information will be disseminated to policymakers and interest groups.
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