UTAH WANTS NEW ENERGY, NEW ATTITUDE
Utah is not like the left coast. Utah is not about fads and the outlandish. Utah is about church and the land. Utah is not about handouts to the undeserving, it’s about hard work and a helping hand for those willing to do it. That’s why it’s so remarkable to read a Utah newspaper editorial calling for “substantial” New Energy incentives.
The Salt Lake Tribune: “In a capitalist economy, money calls the shots. That's why it's vital that the federal government provide substantial incentives - and penalties - to get renewable-energy industries off the ground.”
The federal government subsidized the U.S. oil and gas industry’s rise to world dominance in the 20th century with substantial tax breaks, protective tariffs and supportive regulations. It was by no means an exceptional policy. The British once protected and subsidized coal and the French now do so for their nuclear industry. Energy is simply too vital to a nation’s economy to leave it to the vagaries of the marketplace.
The debate is now fully joined in the U.S. Congress: There between those, like Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, who want to see money shifted away from incentives for oil and gas to incentives for New Energy. And there are those, like Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, who – mired in a way of thinking that was born in the 1950s and died in the 1970s – believe that if it isn’t fossil fuels, it isn’t energy.
At a recent National Clean Energy Summit, Reid, Utah's Republican Governor Jon Huntsman and others spoke out on behalf of New Energy, much to the Salt Lake Tribune’s delight: “What a relief. Some influential people appear to understand the imperative of moving quickly to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, unlike Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop, who, with their fixation on no-limit drilling and oil shale and tar sands development, obviously don't… something might finally get done. And that something has to have as its foundation making clean energy - wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels - beneficial to the finances of businesses and consumers alike…”
The broad outlines of the necessary subsidies will come as no surprise to regular NewEnergyNews readers. They are the New Energy incentives so frequently called for here: (1) Extension of the vital federal tax credits, (2) a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), (3) tax breaks for the purchase of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and energy efficient appliances and (4) R & D funding for New Energy.
The legislation granting the incentives so necessary to build the energy infrastructure of the 21st century may not come this year – but there is no need to despair. In the immortal words of Sam Cooke, "A change is gonna come."
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A way out: Summit’s energy ideas can help solve crisis
Editorial, August 25, 2008 (Salt Lake Tribune)
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman; Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev; Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Rep. Rob Bishop R-Utah; Utahns
Leaders from across the country and across party lines, including Republican Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah and Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, called for strong New Energy incentives at the National Clean Energy Summit.
Every region has a type of New Energy it can develop and a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) would push states to develop them. (click to enlarge)
- The Summit was August 18 & 19.
- August 4: State of Utah government offices went to a 4-day work week to help deal with high energy prices. (See 4-DAY WEEK IN UTAH TO CUT ENERGY USE)
- The Summit made it clear that, as the Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial acknowledged, New Energy is the energy of the future.
The National Clean Energy Summit was in Las Vegas.
- The production tax credits (PTCs) and investment tax credits (ITCs), on which New Energy and Energy Efficiency innovation depends, have by one count been rejected in one form or another 13 times in 2008.
- The state of Utah went to a 4-day workweek at the beginning of August.
- Huntsman said at the Summit that the technology is available to move the nation away from dependence on oil and from global climate change-inducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
- A speaker at the Summit from Google said New Energy will get less expensive. Wind energy-generated electricity is cost-competitive and it is the goal of the Google Foundation to make solar energy-generated electricity cheaper than coal power palnt-generated electricity.
- The incentives called for at the Summit included (1) multiyear federal tax incentives for New Energy investment and production, (2) a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring that all utilities obtain 20% of their power from New Energy sources by 2020, (3) tax breaks to incentivize the purchase of energy efficient vehicles and appliances and (4) funding New Energy technology development.
If you like $4 gas, you'll love the new drilling plans. (click to enlarge)
The Salt Lake Tribune: “The list of ideas is long. If the new Congress and president act quickly to adopt them, this country just may have a chance to soften the impact of global warming, gain energy independence and improve national security. Without these and other initiatives, America's self-destructive reliance on fossil fuels will be ruinous… We've got our fingers crossed.”