Friday, December 18, 2009

A Vote for renewable Energy

I supported a petition for renewable energy a while ago, and this petition reached Senator Arlen Specter. He wrote back to me thanking me for contacting his office regarding our nation's energy policy, and wrote he appreciates hearing from me. To thank him for his email and to let him know that I appreciate his standpoint, I answered his email, but it could not be delivered.

So I followed his invitation to look onto his website - there I recognized he is a very busy man and he has a lot of duties on his schedule.

Not to have written in vain, I let you know my email I started to write to him:

Dear Senator,

I am happy to read that you are supporting all sorts of renewable energy including biofuels generated at our rural area. These may make our farmers independent from foreign energy. And I am happy to read about your support to save energy. If all possibilities to save energy are used, I am sure there will be no energy shortage.

I am happy to recognize that you are not supporting nuclear energy and I hope you really don't.

It's a pity that some people still don't get it: support of nuclear energy takes money away from research on renewable energies which may still has to be done, and takes money away which is needed to support renewable energy. Renewable energy is able to create much, much more jobs than nuclear energy, and not to forget all the mess with radiation, not only inside a power plant, but after use, and inside the Uranium-Mines, all these workers enduring radiation. Uranium mines will be depleted soon if all the planned nuclear power plants are built. And last, but not least the steady threat of terrorist attacks - which, for comparison, can't do a lot of harm to wind or solar farms. I am happy that there hasn't been built another nuclear power plant since the Three Miles Island accident, and the Browns Ferry plant accident in Alabama where a little candle nearly started a nuclear blast. It's thirty years ago now.

Thanks you so much for your caring!
Let's hope the best for our future!


Blogger Bluebee

P.S.: NASA has predicted huge solar storms in 2012. Solar storms did affect heavily the Canadian Hydro-Quebec power system 20 years ago, and as far as I know Canada has invested a huge sum in rebuilding and preparing for the next solar storm. The United States power grid may be in trouble in 2012, and there may be power outage for a long time. Decentralized generation of electricity like Solar- and Wind-farms may reduce this.

And here is the letter I got from Senator Specter:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding our nation's energy policy. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

Addressing our nation's energy crisis requires a comprehensive approach. I believe that Congress should vote to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Technological advances allow us to drill in these areas in a way that is more environmentally friendly than the technology in place when the moratorium was enacted. Increased production alone will not solve this problem. America must embrace conservation and energy efficient technologies. Furthermore, Congress should provide appropriate incentives to businesses and consumers in order to develop alternative forms of energy that can compete in the marketplace. Therefore, I support the extension of the renewable energy tax credit.

During my tenure in the U.S. Senate, I have sought to promote a well-balanced energy policy that encourages clean, safe, reliable and affordable forms of energy, and to appropriately weigh environmental protection with our need for economic expansion. Pennsylvania's strong agricultural, manufacturing and other industrial sectors rely heavily on energy production, and Pennsylvania consumers deserve reliable, affordable energy. One of my top energy priorities is reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil, particularly from OPEC. To rely on unstable regions, such as the Middle East , for our energy needs is to court disaster. Adequate domestic supplies, as well as incentives for conservation, efficiency and use of alternative energy sources are critical to a secure energy future.

In recent years, energy policy has been one of the most contentious issues in Congress, with political and geographical differences on many areas. On August 8, 2005, after more than a decade without a comprehensive energy bill, the President signed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Given continued rising energy costs and gasoline price volatility, on December 13, 2007 Congress again acted on energy legislation, passing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (E.I.S.A) by a final vote of 86-8, which was signed by the President on December 19, 2007.

I was pleased to support the E.I.S.A of 2007, which promotes biofuels, energy efficiency, vehicle fuel economy and carbon storage. This bill expands the renewable fuels standard created in 2005 in order to displace the use of gasoline as a transportation fuel, and modifies it by requiring that an increased amount of biofuel be derived from feedstocks other than corn starch. Dedicated fuel crops, such as switchgrass or fast-growing trees, would be grown for the sole purpose of producing fuel and with such resources PA is well positioned to contribute to the development of advanced and cellulosic biofuel.

In relation to efficiency and conservation measures, E.I.S.A. of 2007 mandates new and revised federal efficiency standards on residential appliances such as: clothes washers, dishwashers, and boilers, and on industrial appliances as well. The bill also includes a directive to reduce energy use in new buildings by 30% in 2010 and 50% in 2020, and a new program designed to promote increased efficiency in federal and commercial buildings. I was also pleased that the Congress acted to increase our national average vehicle fuel economy. The bill requires automakers to raise the average fuel economy standard for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, an increase of 40% over current standards. This provision is similar to other measures I have cosponsored to increase our vehicle fuel efficiency in a manner that provides flexibility to domestic automakers.

Given Pennsylvania's coal mining heritage, I am a strong advocate for research and commercial application of clean coal technologies which could help alleviate pressure on the oil and natural gas markets. These technologies are proven to greatly reduce pollution from power plants while providing much greater efficiency in coal use. As our most abundant domestic energy supply, coal is projected to play a key role in energy production well into the future and we must use it more cleanly and efficiently. I have supported a unique project in Schuylkill County , Pennsylvania , to transform waste coal into ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel or similar products-the first plant of its kind in the U.S. I helped secure a $100 million U.S. Department of Energy award for this plant, which holds the promise of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, while at the same time cleaning the air, using coal waste, and improving water quality by reducing acid mine drainage. I supported an amendment to H.R. 6 aimed at launching the coal-to-liquids industry in the United States and was disappointed it was not included in the final Senate bill. However, the bill did include significant benefits for the research and development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. CCS is a critical component to developing clean coal technology and ensuring coal maintains its rol e in domestic energy production, while reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases which are blamed for global climate change.

In order to meet our growing electricity needs, we must promote a policy of diversity in electricity production by providing proper incentives to renewable and alternative means of supply. Two such policies, tax credits and a Renewable Energy Standard, were not part of the E.I.S.A. of 2007. It is my hope that Congress can consider those provisions in the near future. I believe that a renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) that would require 15% of U.S. electricity come from renewable sources by 2020 is necessary to help spur development of renewable sources. Pennsylvania is currently implementing an Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard with an 18 % goal by 2020 of electricity production from renewable and other alternative energy sources. I applaud the Commonwealth's recognition that increased use of renewable energy can help improve the environment while utilizing sustainable resources.

While the Senate passage of H.R. 6 was a major step toward diversifying our fuel supply and using it more cleanly and efficiently, it could have done more to increase our domestic production. Our current natural gas imbalance has driven prices to unacceptably high levels and created price volatility. This affects not only energy production, but already-struggling U.S. manufacturing, such as the chemical and fertilizer industries which rely on natural gas as a feedstock (ingredient) and energy source. Additionally, natural gas is a basic source of heating for millions of Americans, including low-income families. I will continue to support efforts such as the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act which the President signed on December 20, 2006 and will allow oil and gas development in a limited portion of the offshore Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico with appropriate environmental protections. I was disappointed that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 did not include a similar oil savings goal , which would have required the administration to identify and implement policies reducing domestic oil consumption by 1 million barrels per day from projections by 2013. This provision was based on the Carper-Specter amendment from 2002 and the Landrieu-Specter amendment in 2003, the latter of which passed by a vote of 99-1. These are modest oil savings goals, but ones which could help focus the Federal Government's attention on reducing oil imports in support of energy independence, national security and lower trade deficits, and I will continue to support such measures.

Furthermore, we must do all we can to ensure a stable price of oil. Although the price is set by external market forces, Congress can act to ensure that the market is functioning properly. Accordingly, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I held two hearings in February and March of 2006 to consider the effects of consolidation in the energy industry and whether such concentration had resulted in increased prices of gasoline, other petroleum-based fuels and natural gas. Those hearings prompted me to introduce the Oil and Gas Industry Act of 2006 to require the appropriate antitrust agencies to further consider whether mergers within the oil and gas industry have violated antitrust laws and if such mergers and information sharing among companies should receive further scrutiny. Additionally, this legislation would have addressed the industry's record high profits and high prices by prohibiting oil and gas companies from diverting, exporting or refusing to sell existing supplies with the specific intention of raising prices or creating a shortage.

Securing a reliable national energy plan is vital to ensuring the stability of our country. This important issue deserves Congress' consideration so that we may best serve the interests of the environment, national security, taxpayers and consumers. I assure you that I will continue to work in the best interests of Pennsylvania to ensure a secure, responsible energy future.
Thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns about our nation's energy sources to my attention. This is an important issue deserving Congress' consideration. If you have any further thoughts on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or visit my website at: