There’s No Debate: Clean Energy Is the True Path to Energy Security

In last night’s debate, Governor Romney and President Obama both responded to a question regarding high gas prices by talking about the need to create more energy in the United States.  To the extent that their answers (particularly Governor Romney’s) highlighted increased fossil fuels production in the US as a solution, the American public was misled.  In reality, the only way the United States is going to get stable energy prices, and true energy security, is by increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy in the US. Increasing domestic oil drilling and production is meaningless to energy security, since oil is traded on a global market, and the US can’t do much to control its price.  Increased drilling also risks more catastrophic oil spills, increases greenhouse gas emissions, and keeps us addicted to oil (which will undermine our long-term energy security).  Increasing other fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal, is also short-sighted, since both are finite, and the economic (and environmental) damage of using them exceeds any benefits.  Only renewable energy promises true energy security, since no one can own the sun, the wind, and the tides.  Paired with energy efficiency, which could reduce our overall consumption dramatically, renewable energy can pave the way for a truly sustainable economy. However, while the pathway for energy efficiency and clean energy has been looking increasingly bright over the past decade, the future of these crucial technologies is now in jeopardy. Since […]

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Bernie Sanders and Tom Coburn agree on something: Clean energy matters to the US

It’s not often that Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a very liberal member of the Senate, and Republicans like Charles Grassley,  John Thune, and Tom Coburn  agree, but one thing they clearly agree on is the need for more clean energy in the United States, and that the US Government needs to play a role in developing it. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), member of the committees for both energy and the environment, recently wrote an article for environmental non-profit Grist which was posted on their website this morning. In the article, Senator Sanders details the current problems with energy subsidies in the United States and suggests that more funding for wind and solar, along with less funding for oil and gas, would go a long way towards securing our energy future. Though green energy has become politicized leading up to the election with talk of the government picking energy “winners and losers,”  Senator Sanders stresses the need for Congress (Democrats and Republicans) to act in support of these important advances in clean energy technology. Senator Sanders starts by pointing out the major flaw behind the “picking winners and losers” argument; namely that it is actually big fossil fuel and nuclear companies that are receiving the bulk of government funding when it comes to energy. According to the nonpartisan Joint committee on Taxation, $113 billion in federal subsidies will be handed out to fossil fuel companies over the next decade. This comes on […]

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Surprise: Clean Energy Benefits Red States Most

Clean Edge recently posted an article by Clint Wilder describing the increasing levels of bipartisan support for clean energy technology in the past few months. One of the main pieces of evidence used to support this claim is a report from DBL Investors titled “Red, White and Green: The True Colors of America’s Clean Tech Jobs.” Many liberal members of Congress have been vocal in their support of clean energy for years, but the report states that it is in fact traditionally conservative states in the west and south that are quickly becoming champions of clean energy projects. Of the top 10 states with the fastest growth in clean tech jobs between 2003 and 2010, four states (Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming) are solidly conservative and four more (Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina) have strong conservative influences. The driving factor behind this shift is the job benefits that the clean energy industry has created. All of these states have created thousands of competitive jobs through wind, solar and biomass plants, which in turn helps boost the economy. Having thousands of new, well-paying jobs is especially important in a tumultuous economic time such as this, which is why state representatives have jumped at the chance to use the renewable energy resources found in their own backyards. Clint Wilder then points out that is a shame that Mitt Romney and most of the GOP are not supporting the extension […]

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Why Mess With Success?

If you knew that there are government programs that produce tens of thousands of new jobs in the US, and  are making us a leader in industries that are increasingly important worldwide, wouldn’t you want to continue them?  Not if you were our current Congress.  Our nation’s leaders are allowing programs that support wind, solar, and energy efficiency to run out, just when we are seeing incredible successes. Recent reports from IMS Research and the Energy Department suggest that energy production from solar and wind in the United States could rapidly increase in coming years. Though China and Germany have dominated the race to create a robust clean energy sector so far, the United States has taken steps to close that gap. Tax incentives and programs that create an increased focus on sustainable energy have helped two major clean energy sectors (solar and wind) thrive. Solar PV installations rose more than 120% in the first 6 months of 2012, with almost 1.7 GW installed capacity added to the grid. IMS states that by the end of the year, there will be at least 3.5 GW installed, which would give the US the world’s third largest PV market. The wind market has been similarly successful in recent years, as it has become one of the fastest growing energy industries in the country. Thirty two percent of all electric capacity added in 2011 came from wind, which has helped lower the price […]

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Clean Energy Victory Bonds in GreenBiz.com

GreenBiz.com author Michael Kramer recently posted an article explaining the many benefits of Clean Energy Victory Bonds (CEVBs) and why we need them to advance renewable energy in the U.S. He accurately describes the problem with the current energy system; namely the big subsidies that oil and gas companies receive which make it difficult for renewables to compete. However, by providing tax incentives to renewable sources like wind and solar power, Kramer argues that we can spur private investment and make clean energy consumer friendly.   He also mentions some of the lesser-known benefits of the CEVB legislation, like the voucher for electric car purchases. This section of the bill will make a huge impact on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. And, he notes, the most exciting part of the legislation is that it will be paid for by American citizens in the form of government issued bonds.   Thanks to Michael Kramer and GreenBiz for writing about CEVBs!  

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Green America Supports GMO Labeling in California

This fall, California voters can cast their votes in favor of full disclosure for their foods.  Proposition 37 will be on the ballot, and a “yes” vote will require food companies to disclose genetically modified (GMO) ingredients on product labeling. Green America enthusiastically supports a “yes” vote on Proposition 37. Consumers have a right to know what is in their food, and genetically modified foods pose potential health risks to consumers. Despite the assurances of the largest players in the food industry, GMO’s are not proven to be healthy and safe. As Green America recently reported, studies on animals demonstrate that GMOs create disturbing and long-term negative health impacts.  Recent studies implicate GMOs in causing negative human health impacts, including a role in accelerating obesity. In addition, GMOs have negative environmental impacts, including the increased use of pesticides and contamination of non-GMO crops.  Finally, GMO crops have caused hardship to family farmers here in the U.S., whose crops have been contaminated with genetically modified seeds.  They have also harmed famers in the developing world, who were promised greater yields with GMO seeds, but who ended up in increasing debt instead (to read more about the problems of GMOs and to learn which foods to avoid, please read the FrankenFoods issue of the Green American magazine). Green America supports labeling of GMO foods at the national level, and is a proud supporter of the Just Label It! Campaign.  Our members were part […]

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New Report Warns US Risks Losing Ground in Clean Energy

Third Way’s recent report, Fire Sale: The End of American Ownership of Clean Energy, predicts that by 2014, federal clean tech investment will drop by 75%, from $44.3 billion in 2009 to just $11.0 billion.  So what happens if the federal government really does decide to stop supporting the U.S. clean energy sector?  Well, one thing can be certain; clean energy won’t die but it will move to foreign markets. Just because U.S. clean energy investment growth has fallen short within the past five years, doesn’t mean that the market is vanishing.  “The United Kingdom has established a £15 billion Green Bank.  The China Development Bank has made available $32 billion in low-interest credit facilities to Chinese solar and wind companies.  Saudi Arabia wants to raise $109 billion for its solar industry.”  Countries like Germany and the U.K. are already coming close to doubling their clean energy use just since 2011. While other governments are building massive programs to fund clean energy, Congress claims that it can no longer fund these sorts of initiatives, stressing that if a clean energy industry fails it’s because it’s not a competitive market player.  Ironically, government funding has been used to make many other American industries “competitive players.” Between 1994 and 2009 the government provided approximately $447 billion (adjusted for inflation) in cumulative energy subsides to the oil and gas industry.  Compare that to the less than $6 billion federally invested in the clean […]

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New research demonstrates the importance of extending the Production Tax Credit

A recent report from the Department of Energy announced very strong growth in the US wind energy market in 2011. This growth includes $14 billion in new investments, which produced 6,800 MW of additional power to the grid. The current wind power capacity in the US is 50,000 MW (enough to power 13 million homes) and six states now get over 10% of their electricity from wind power. The wind industry has also provided thousands of jobs to hard working Americans, with nearly 70% of wind power equipment being provided by American manufacturers. More and more reports are demonstrating the progress of wind power, and much of that is due to the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides a tax credit to wind producers in the United States. However, the PTC is set to expire at the end of the year and it remains to be seen whether or not Congress will renew it. Projections indicate that almost half of the 75,000 wind industry jobs would be lost if the PTC expires. States like Iowa, Texas, California, Illinois and Oregon, which all have over 2,500 MW of wind capacity installed, would be crushed by these potential job losses. Opponents of the PTC are hoping to foster more “competition” between energy sources, which would inevitably lead to the cheapest and dirtiest sources of fuel (like coal tar sands) being used to power our economy. These opponents also fail to […]

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Clean Energy Victory Bonds introduced as legislation!

The campaign for Clean Energy Victory Bonds has made an exciting leap forward! Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) and 10 cosponsors introduced HR 6275, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, to the House of Representatives.  The bill is supported by Green America and already has over 40 institutional endorsers  and thousands of individual supporters as well. Clean Energy Victory Bonds (CEVBs) are proposed U.S. Treasury bonds modeled after Victory Bonds sold during the First and Second World Wars.  During World War II, 85 million Americans purchased Victory Bonds that generated $185 billion (over $2 trillion in today’s dollars) for the war effort.  Today, in the search for new clean energy sources, America faces the same sense of urgency to find a national solution.  Through the same patriotism demonstrated during WWII, CEVBs would allow Americans to invest billions of dollars in clean energy.  All Americans could participate in this investment towards the future of clean energy, energy independence, and job creation as the bonds could be available for as little as $25. CEVBs would extend the US Government’s support for clean energy programs that have created hundreds of thousands, or even millions of jobs, and dramatically increased clean energy installations nationwide.   Unfortunately, these government programs are expiring or already expired. For example, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which has been a major driver of wind power in the US, is about to expire this year. CEVBs would allow for the […]

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