The United States has the opportunity to be a world leader in the production of renewable energy. As countries like China take the lead in the global clean energy race, it is imperative that the United States put in place incentives for clean energy that will allow us to lead this critical 21st century industry.
One way to promote renewable energy is through tax incentives that allow clean energy technologies to compete with fossil fuels that have been subsidized for decades. Another means of advancing renewable energy is through passage of a comprehensive bill addressing global warming pollution. For example, robust incentives for renewables have been included in numerous recent comprehensive clean energy and global warming bills like the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House of Representatives in 2009 but regrettably stalled in the Senate.
An additional approach to spur renewable energy is through passage of a federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which would require that a certain percentage of the nation’s electricity come from clean sources of energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal. Over half of the fifty states and the District of Columbia have adopted their own state-level RES policies, and LCV is working with our state LCV partners to both strengthen those as well as enact new RES’s in states currently without them. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a federal RES that required the United States to produce 25% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025 would save consumers $64.3 billion on energy bills, in addition to spurring job creation and helping to fight global warming.
Improving energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to reduce global warming emissions. It's a simple concept: modernize buildings and appliances so that they use less energy, which reduces overall electricity demand as well as the need for additional power sources. Through new building designs and efforts to weatherize our homes, we can cut down on the energy needed for heating and cooling buildings. Similarly, home appliances have become more efficient as part of the ENERGY STAR program and through other efficiency standards.
The Energy Independence and Security Act, which Congress passed and was signed into law in 2007, included important provisions to increase energy efficiency. It included incentives and standards for efficiency in buildings and homes and contained light bulb efficiency standards that will reduce global warming pollution by 100 million metric tons per year by 2010.
Numerous bills have been introduced this Congress to further promote energy efficiency. LCV is working to ensure that robust incentives for efficiency are included in any energy package passed by Congress.