The emails from green and clean energy groups are flying in fast and furious this morning in advance of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. And the message from them all is that clean-green tech is good for the economy and creates jobs.
A sampling –
The questions she think policy makers should be asking are:
“Is America’s air getting safer to breathe than it was a year ago? Are we building the wind farms and solar plants that put Americans to work and curb pollution at the same time? Do we have a plan to encourage fuel efficient technologies that allow cars to go farther on a tank of gas?
“Looking ahead, the question becomes: will our leaders seize opportunities to protect our families from polluters and build a cleaner energy system for America?”
The key point of her piece is –
“The coming year will be filled with campaign-fueled debates about jobs and the recession. Clean energy can deliver what both parties are looking for: greater prosperity and market growth.
“Let’s abandon once and for all the false choice of pitting economic progress and environmental protection. The two actually go hand-in-hand.”
In the meantime, the Pew Environment Group has banded together with about 200 businesses and clean energy groups to promote energy efficiency through co-generation — capturing the heat from power generation and using it for heating or to produce more energy. The group has paid for full-page ads in three of the top inside-the-Beltway publications — The Hill, Politico and Roll Call — timed for SOTU.
The ad reads:
“Each year, America’s utilities and factories send enough heat up their chimneys to power all of Japan. But with existing, proven technologies, we can harness that wasted energy, dramatically cut electricity costs, and make our manufacturers more competitive.
“According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, significantly increasing our industrial energy efficiency would spur more than $200 billion in new private investment in the U.S. and create up to 1,000,000 jobs. Harness the heat to create new jobs and make our country more competitive.”
Then, from the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group, a press release announcing –
“Several media outlets are reporting that President Obama will mention wind power and manufacturing jobs in his State of the Union address this evening, including reports that Bryan Ritterby of American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) member company Energetx Composites of Holland, MI will be First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest for the speech.”
The AWEA is lobbying hard to get the wind industry’s major federal incentive, the production tax credit, extended beyond its planned expiration date at the end of 2012. The PTC, as it is referred to, gives renewable energy companies a 2.2 cent credit per kilowatt hour for the first 10 years of an installation’s generation.
“A recent report by Navigant Consulting finds that if Congress allows the PTC for wind to expire, jobs in the wind industry will be cut in half, meaning a loss of 37,000 American jobs and a one third cut to American wind manufacturing jobs, while private investment in the industry would drop by nearly two thirds. And Navigant found that these job losses will begin now and accelerate with each month the PTC nears the expiration deadline. Meanwhile, extending the PTC will allow the wind industry to grow to almost 100,000 American jobs in just four years and stay on track toward supporting 500,000 American jobs by 2030.”
The good news here is, with the spread of wind power to more conservative states such as Texas and Iowa, AWEA is seeing growing bipartisan support for an extension, which makes it more likely that a PTC law could make it through Congress even with election year politics raging.
Both basically are all about supporting domestic oil and natural gas development, cutting environmental regulations and redirecting federal support for renewable energy development — loan guarantees — into basic research.
Romney comes out slightly ahead in so far as he actually acknowledges the human role in climate change, though he says he’s not sure of the extent, while Gingrich’s most recent pronouncement on the issue is that he believes we don’t know if human carbon emissions are part of the picture.
And Gingrich offers the intriguing ideas of funding renewable energy research from gas and oil royalties and changing the Environmental Protection Agency into the Environmental Solutions Agency “that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.”