U.S. coalition wants renewables
to provide 50% of electricity
Oct 25, 2006 Refocus Weekly
More than 150 organizations and businesses from
38 states have endorsed the 'Sustainable Energy
Blueprint' for the United States.
The policy document was developed by member groups
of the Sustainable Energy Coalition to outline "a
plausible strategy and timeframe for rapidly expanding
the use of energy efficient and renewable energy
technologies to enable a dramatic reduction in greenhouse
gases, while simultaneously phasing out nuclear
power and ending most energy imports," explains
co-ordinator Ken Bossong.
"The three primary, longer-term objectives
for the nation's energy policy should be: reduce
GHG emissions to a level consistent with a worldwide
goal of global climate stabilization; eliminate
U.S. energy imports while reducing overall use of
oil and natural gas; and phase out the current generation
of nuclear power while substantially curbing the
production and consumption of fossil fuels, by increasing
the use of energy efficiency and making a transition
to sustainable, environmentally safer renewable
energy sources," the document explains. By
2050, the Blueprint anticipates that efficiency
would reduce current energy use by 40% and renewables
would account for half of total energy supplies.
The U.S. should reduce total energy consumption
by at least 1% per year from 2005 levels so, by
2025, energy use totals no more than about 80 quads,
the report suggests. Current production from biofuels,
biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind,
"plus renewably-based hydrogen in an environmentally
responsible manner," should increase by 0.5
quads per year so, by 2025, renewables provide at
least 17 quads.
The group wants to phase out the current generation
of nuclear reactors and to reduce oil consumption
by at least 1% per year below 2005 levels so, by
2025, U.S. oil imports are no more than one-third
of total petroleum use. It wants to reduce natural
gas consumption by the same level so, by 2025, the
U.S. will no longer be importing any natural gas.
The blueprint "is being offered as an example
of how the United States could achieve a sustainable
energy future; by no means is this the only mix
of options - just an illustrative one,"
it explains. The blueprint will continue to collect
endorsements until the 2008 presidential election.
It is "an ambitious but doable strategy for
dramatically reducing U.S. GHG emissions, phasing
out nuclear power, and ending energy imports while
simultaneously creating new domestic jobs and businesses,
improving energy, homeland, and national security
and the economy, and enhancing the environment and
public health," it explains. The targets "approximate
what is technically and economically feasible given
the necessary policy support and leadership as well
as what would likely be necessary if the above-listed
objectives are to be achieved."
By 2050, total U.S. energy consumption should be
no more than 60 quads, while the continued expansion
of renewables by at least 0.5 quads per year would
allow the sector to contribute at least 30 quads
to the nation's energy supply by mid-century.
By 2025, no less than 25% of liquid transportation
fuels should come from renewables, including renewably-generated
hydrogen, while no less than 25% of electricity
should be mandated to be generated by renewables.
By that year, state or federal standards should
mandate that 20% of all new buildings must be 'zero
energy' and moving towards a goal of all new
buildings being 'zero energy' by 2050
"using a combination of efficient design and
clean on-site energy production."
"Expansion of renewable energy, energy efficiency
and clean distributed generation technologies should
be promoted through national interconnection standards
(net metering and transmission access reforms),
production and investment tax incentives, government
procurement, updated resource assessment, and state
and local planning programs," it suggests.
Annual federal funding for research and deployment
of renewables "should be at least doubled
over the next five years and expanded to no less
than five times current levels by 2025."
"Funding to support sustainable energy budget
outlays and tax incentives, as well as to alleviate
low-income consumer impacts, should be drawn from
a mix of gradually increased dedicated taxes on
carbon-based fuels, energy imports, and fossil fuel
leases on federal lands," it adds.
The Sustainable Energy Network is a network of 300
organizations, companies and individuals which advocate
aggressive deployment of renewables and energy efficient
technologies as a strategy for phasing out nuclear
power, eliminating energy imports, and cutting GHG