WASHINGTON - October 26 - The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) today unveiled ten golden opportunities to move America beyond fossil fuels and toward a cleaner, more secure energy future for America.
The list is based on U.S. PIRG’s new report The Road to a New Energy Future, which highlights the many technologies available to America that would reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The report urges the nation to embrace a platform and a set of policies to assure that these clean energy technologies prevail throughout the U.S. economy. It is the second of two reports that reinforce the importance of an American commitment to moving toward a cleaner and more secure energy future.
“With war in the middle east, volatile gas prices, and the gathering storm of global warming, America needs a new energy future,” said U.S. PIRG Legislative Director Anna Aurilio. “We cannot afford to pass up any of these golden opportunities,” she continued.
U.S. PIRG’s report shows that the U.S. already has the tools to accomplish the goals of reducing U.S. dependence on oil; harnessing clean, renewable, homegrown energy; and saving energy with high performance homes, buildings and appliances.
Identified by U.S. PIRG as among the Ten Best Opportunities for a New Energy Future were:
- Solar power. Solar photovoltaic panels, or PV panels, placed on just 7 percent of the area currently covered by cities and residences could generate all of America’s electricity. “The potential for electricity from solar energy in the United States is huge,” said Dr. Samuel Lakeou, director of the Center for Excellence in Renewable Energy and Chairman of the department of electrical engineering at the University of the District of Columbia.
- Solar heated water. Roof-mounted solar collectors used to heat household water can reduce energy consumption for water heating by about two-thirds and pay for themselves within four to eight years.
- “Zero Energy” homes. By combining energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy such as solar-panels, homes can generate as much energy as they use.
- Harness the wind. The wind that blows through America’s Great Plains could theoretically generate enough electricity to power the entire country. The cost of wind turbines has declined by approximately 90 percent in the last 20 years and wind is now cost-competitive with fossil fuel electricity generation in many parts of the country.
- Change light bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 9 percent of household electricity consumption. If every American household replaced its most highly used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, total household lighting consumption could be cut in half.
- Put a stake in the heart of the energy vampires. Replacing existing appliances with those that minimize the energy wasted by “standby” power use could reduce the wasted power by 68 percent.
Also on the list were hybrid vehicles, efficient industrial motors, clean bio-fuels and geothermal energy.
“America could capture the clean energy markets of the future and create millions of good, family supporting jobs if our leaders made the investments today to build a new energy economy,” said Dan Seligman, National Campaign Director of the Apollo Alliance.
“The energy and climate problems facing our nation demand a conservative response,” said Republicans for Environmental Protection Government Affairs Director David Jenkins. “There is nothing conservative about wasting energy or allowing our nation to be dangerously over dependent on oil. True conservatives in Congress should be willing to step forward and embrace energy policies based on the traditional conservative values of conservation, stewardship and prudence.”
U.S. PIRG called on all Congressional candidates to support the goals of a New Energy Future. “The opportunity for a New Energy Future is knocking and Americans are calling on our leaders to answer,” said U.S. PIRG’s Aurilio. “We need a national commitment to put these clean energy tools in the hands of the individuals and businesses that will build our energy future,” she concluded.
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), takes on powerful interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being.
More than 280 environmental, consumer, labor, and civic groups including the United Steelworkers, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), The Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have endorsed the New Energy Future platform to take advantage of these opportunities to reduce oil use, promote the use of renewable energy, and help Americans save energy.
The full text of the report and the New Energy Future goals are available here.