National Renewable Energy Initiative Launched

The U.S. power sector can cut carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming nearly 60 percent by 2020 and reduce its dependency on fossil fuels by using available energy technologies and supporting innovative polices, according to a new peer-reviewed analysis by World Wildlife Fund.

Washington, D.C. – April 3, 2003 [] Based upon the new research findings, WWF is launching PowerSwitch!, an initiative that challenges electric utilities to make specific policy and performance commitments that begin the transition to a CO2-free power sector. “U.S. electricity companies have the power to play a major role in solving the global warming problem, if they choose to take responsible steps to meet this risk,” said Katherine Silverthorne, director of WWF’s Climate Change Program. “To ensure that power companies take action while we still have time to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, WWF is challenging them to commit now to a clean energy future.” According to WWF’s new analysis, the U.S. electricity sector has a tremendous opportunity to cost-effectively cut its CO2 emissions by increasing energy efficiency and using Renewable Energy. Specifically, the report finds that – by dramatically increasing energy efficiency and using a diversified energy generation portfolio that reduces reliance on coal and gas and increase use of renewable energy, power companies can reduce electric sector CO2 emissions by 59 percent between now and 2020; – under the same scenario, the savings in the electricity bills of consumers and businesses would exceed costs by more than US$80 billion per year in 2020; and – adoption of complementary national policies that support the transition to clean energy will increase cost effectiveness and encourage appropriate decisions in regard to capital investment. Building on these findings, WWF is launching PowerSwitch!, an initiative that will work to identify leaders in the electricity sector that will help achieve this clean energy future. To identify these leading companies, WWF is challenging U.S. electric utilities to support binding limits on national/power sector CO2 emissions; and commit to one of the following changes in their own business: a. 20 percent of electricity sold will be from new renewables by 2020 or b. energy efficiency will be increased by 15 percent by 2020 or c. least efficient half of coal generation retired by 2020. WWF will propose this challenge to specific power sector companies that can trigger a switch for the entire electricity sector. This will require the participation of numerous types of utilities including major, multi-state companies, municipal utilities, and rural utilities in a variety of geographic regions. The WWF analysis is based on the widely accepted National Energy Modeling System of the U.S. Department of Energy Energy Information Administration. The authors refined the NEMS model with advice from EIA, based on ongoing model improvements and drawing on expert advice from colleagues at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Union of Concerned Scientists, and National Laboratories among others.

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