Scientists Say Bush Ignores Renewable Energy

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently criticized the Bush administration for stacking its summit on natural gas prices with representatives from the fossil fuel industry and ignoring wind, solar and other renewable energy sources as an important solution to the natural gas crisis. According to the UCS, not a single renewable energy industry representative, analyst or advocate was invited to speak at the Department of Energy/National Petroleum Council Natural Gas Summit.

Washington, D .C. July 21, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) last month criticized the Bush administration for stacking its summit on natural gas prices with representatives from the fossil fuel industry and ignoring wind, solar and other renewable energy sources as an important solution to the natural gas crisis. According to the UCS, not a single renewable energy industry representative, analyst or advocate was invited to speak at the Department of Energy/National Petroleum Council Natural Gas Summit. “The Department of Energy’s own Energy Information Administration has found that increasing our use of renewable energy resources will displace large quantities of natural gas and lower natural gas prices,” said Marchant Wentworth, Washington Representative for Energy at UCS. “Increasing our use of renewable energy from two percent today to 20 percent by 2020 would save enough gas to meet the current needs of three-quarters of all U.S. households.” Residential gas use accounts for about 22 percent of gas consumed in the U.S., with power plants the fastest growing gas consumers. UCS released a fact sheet summarizing studies performed by EIA and UCS over the last several years on the costs and benefits of increasing renewable energy use. “Renewable energy can strengthen our economy by alleviating the natural gas crisis while reducing air pollution,” said Alan Nogee, Director of UCS’s Clean Energy Program. The UCS studies show that: – Increasing renewable energy use to 20 percent can save between 3.1 and 3.8 trillion cubic feet of gas per year by 2020, which is equal to 11 percent of total projected gas use for 2020, or enough to meet the current needs of three-quarters of all U.S. households. – Increasing renewable energy use to 20 percent can reduce gas prices by up to nine percent, or 42 cents per one million British Thermal Units (MMBTU), compared to Energy Information Association (EIA) forecasts of average consumer natural gas prices averaging US$4.74 per MMBTU over the next 20 years and reaching US$4.60 per MMBTU by 2020. – Increasing renewable energy use to 10 percent by 2020 can reduce both gas and electricity prices, according to an EIA analysis of a renewable energy scenario last year for former Sen. Frank Murkowski, who is now Governor of Alaska. – The savings from renewable energy increase with higher projected gas prices. For example, increasing renewable energy to just 6.5 percent by 2020 consumers would save US$3.8 billion in 2020 under an EIA forecast of natural gas wellhead prices averaging US$2.91 per MMBTU over the next 17 years. Consumer savings increase to US$8.3 billion in 2020 if natural gas wellhead prices average US$3.31 per MMBTU. Today, natural gas wellhead prices exceed US$6 per MMBTU, and many analysts forecast long-term gas prices in the US$4 to US$6 per MMBTU range. – All sectors of the economy would see gas savings from increased renewable energy use. Increasing renewable energy to 9.4 percent by 2020 would result in US$4.9 billion savings for industrial gas consumers, US$1.8 billion to commercial customers, and US$2.4 billion to residential customers.
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