Pacific Northwest Called Perfect For Green Power
With its well trained and highly talented workforce, intellectual capital, and entrepreneurial spirit, the Pacific Northwest is uniquely poised to lead the country, and the world, in the development of clean energy technologies, according to Congressman Jay Inslee, a Democrat, at the forum he hosted in Seattle earlier this year.
Inslee calls the 10 year, $300 billion proposal, the New Apollo Energy Project because it parallels the fervor of the drive to put the first people on the moon during the Apollo Space program of the 1960s.
He calls it “a bold, new energy policy that will marshal the resources of the federal government to provide a vision” of how to break the U.S. addiction to Middle East oil, thereby improving homeland and national security.
The project would address the threat of global warming, and expand the U.S. economy, creating millions of new jobs, according to a report released at the forum by University of California-Berkeley Professor Daniel Kammen of the Energy and Resources Group at the Goldman School of Public Policy where he heads the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory.
The Kammen report compares 13 recent studies of how a shift towards clean energy technologies would result in job creation. The study estimated that 188,000 to 240,000 jobs would be created by renewable power projects, versus 86,000 jobs by the current policy of rapid development of natural gas.
In a statement introducing the report, Inslee said, “Across a wide range of assumptions and approaches, these studies confirm that supporting renewable and efficient energy systems will create more American jobs than would a comparable investment in traditional fossil fuel based systems.”
Such a policy would also reduce the U.S. foreign trade deficit and reestablish the U.S. as a leader in this growing market, said Inslee and Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, who also signed the statement.
Kammen and his team, Kamal Kapadia and Matthias Fripp, examined the assumptions used in each of the 13 studies, and developed a job creation model which shows their implications for employment under several future energy scenarios.
They found that the renewable energy sector generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment, than the fossil fuel based energy sector.
Jobs in the fossil fuel sector are declining for reasons that are, for the most part, not related to environmental regulations, said the Kammen report, which acknowled that a shift from fossil fuels to renewables in the energy sector, at whatever scale, will create some job losses. These losses can be adequately mitigated, ameliorated or alleviated through a number of policy actions, the report says.
Embedding support for renewables in a policy context of support for energy efficiency, green building standards, and sustainable transportation will enhance net positive impacts on the economy, employment and the environment, the Kammen team concluded.
The Kammen report recommends at least a 10 percent investment tax credit for renewable energy systems or combined heat and power systems with an overall efficiency of at least 60 to 70 percent.
Kammen supports a federal renewable portfolio standard of 20 percent by 2020 to help build renewable energy markets. That would mean a federal requirement that all states buy at least 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.
“A number of studies indicate that this would result in renewable energy development in every region of the country with most coming from wind, biomass, and geothermal sources,” the report says.
The Kammen team recommends a public benefits fund financed through a $0.002/kWh charge on all electricity sales. Such a fund could match state funds to assist in continuing or expanding energy efficiency, low income services, the deployment of renewables, research and development, as well as public purpose programs the costs of which have traditionally been incorporated into electricity rates by regulated utilities.
And finally, the Kammen report “strongly” supports the idea of a carbon tax, which is also supported by many of the studies analyzed.
“Somebody’s going to make a buck and solve these problems, and we want it to be us,” said Inslee. “Over the last 20 years, we’ve created the software industry, we’ve created the biotech industry, but our cars get less gas mileage than they did in the 1980s.”
Provided by the Environmental News