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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 emissions.


Updated: 2016/06/30

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