‘Clean’ power trumps energy efficiency in Congress – chem council

16 May 2012 14:00  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A bill in Congress to promote so-called “clean” energy does not do enough to push energy efficiency improvements, the president of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Wednesday.

Chemical producers play an integral role in improving energy efficiency through the production of lithium-ion batteries, lightweight vehicle parts, more efficient fuels and other items, Cal Dooley said in a prepared statement for the Alliance to Save Energy’s “Great Energy Efficiency Event” in Washington.

He added that since 1990, ACC members have reduced their energy consumption by 30%, Dooley said.

What continues to perplex me though, is that if broad agreement exists about efficiency, why do we seem to have such trouble getting policies implemented that promote it,” he asked.

For example, he said a Senate Energy Committee hearing was scheduled this week to discuss the proposed Clean Energy Standard Act, which seeks to promote "clean" energy - such as that from renewable sources - and reduce carbon emissions.

“It includes measures to encourage the adoption of a range of so called, ‘clean’ energy sources, but energy efficiency improvements at electric utilities or manufacturing facilities do not receive credits toward compliance with the act,” Dooley said. “This will only serve as a disincentive for efficiency gains and could even raise costs for ratepayers.”

The bill provides some encouragement for combined heat and power – a process to reduce electricity at industrial facilities and then send the excess back to the electricity grid – but other so-called “clean” energy sources are more favoured, he said.

“Using less energy seems to be the cleanest source of energy there is, so it’s omission from a Clean Energy Standard makes no sense,” Dooley said.

The ACC supports market-based approaches to encouraging renewable technologies, Dooley said, but “sources like solar and wind continue to be the darlings of many outspoken environmental advocates, while efficiency – a far less expensive and, at the moment, less controversial way to reduce emissions and demand – is an afterthought”.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a non–profit organisation that promotes energy efficiency through research, education and advocacy.

By: Brian Ford
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