Thursday, May 20, 2010

Study underlines effectiveness of clean energy policy


A clean energy bill proposed in the U.S. Senate would cut demand for fossil fuel, reduce domestic spending on imported oil and cause greenhouse gas emissions to fall 22 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, according to a study released today.

And it'll create 200,000 jobs a year through contruction of new power plants, according to a policy brief from the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The 18-page report analyzes the American Power Act, unveiled by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., last week. The jobs would come from $41.1 billion in annual electricity sector investment between 2011 and 2030, the study says.

"The American Power Act will transform our economy, set us on the path toward energy independence and improve the quality of the air we breathe. It will create millions of good jobs that cannot be shipped abroad and it will launch America into a position of leadership in the global clean energy economy," Kerry said on his Web site.

The anti-tax, smaller government group Freedomworks.org, chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey believes otherwise, calling the measure "little more than cap and trade in disguise, the bill would be a massive job-killing energy tax. In fact, it would be the largest tax hike in history, and would hit the poor and middleclass."

Like it or not, however, clean energy increasingly is being looked to as an alternative by a large swath of the country. The concept saves energy and money, offering a by-product of cleaner air. Other studies, which we've noted in past blog items, contend policy shift and investment create jobs and economic development.

Even director and actor Robert Redford got into the act, urging President Obama to support clean energy policy in an item on The Huffington Post today. He said BP's growing Gulf Coast oil slick "the clearest picture we could have of our failed national energy policy -- which extends over many decades and administrations. Yet, shockingly, our elected officials in the Senate continue to drag their feet on enacting the policies that would bring the real change we need to shift our country from dirty to clean energy sources, while creating jobs and cutting our dependence on oil."

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.