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                                                                                                                                                                     The Future of Renewable Energy
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Library of Congress
Jefferson Building

Diversifying the United States' energy portfolio is a critical step in ensuring America's continued economic growth, national security, and environmental quality. An important component of this effort is the advancement of clean, renewable energy - a sector whose future remains very uncertain. Renewable energy sources for electric power generation is the subject of a June 21 briefing on Capitol Hill, launching a six-part series titled "Energy 2050."

Video of the event and commentary follow below.

Video of the Briefing
(To view the videos, you need RealPlayer. Get a free RealPlayer at www.real.com.)

    

 

 

 

Paul Portney - Introduction
President and Senior Fellow,
Resources for the Future

Paul Portney has been president of RFF since 1995. An economist by training, he jointed RFF's research staff in 1972. He became a senior fellow in 1980 and directed two of RFF's research divisions (Quality of the Environment Division and Center for Risk Management) before becoming vice president in 1989.


 

 

Image of Paul Portney and link to his introductionLink to Video


 

 

In 1979 and 1980, Portney took leave from RFF to be chief economist at the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President. He also has held visiting teaching positions at the University of California- Berkeley and Princeton University.

Portney has long been interested in the role of economic analysis in energy and environmental regulation, especially the regulation of automobiles, power plants, and other industrial facilities. In 2001, he chaired a National Academy of Sciences panel on the future of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards.

 

 

 

 

 

Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) 

U.S. Representative Vernon J. Ehlers of Grand Rapids was sworn in on January 4, 2005, to serve his sixth full term in the House of Representatives. Ehlers joined Congress following a distinguished tenure of service in teaching, scientific research and public service, and is the first research physicist to serve in Congress.

 

Link to video
Link to Video

 

 

Representative Ehlers serves on four committees, including the Science Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards. During his tenure on the Science Committee, he also has rewritten the nation's science policy and introduced the National Science Education Acts aimed at reforming K-12 science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education. He also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where, in the 107th Congress, he led the development of the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which authorizes spending $270 million over the next five years to clean up sediments in the Great Lakes.

Ehlers holds an undergraduate degree in physics from Calvin College, and received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of California, Berkeley. After six years teaching and research at Berkeley, he moved to Calvin College in 1966 where he taught physics for 16 years and later served as chairman of the Physics Department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Arvizu
Director,
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dr. Dan Arvizu became the eighth Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on January 15, 2005. NREL is the Department of Energy's primary laboratory for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development. Dr. Arvizu also is a Senior Vice President with MRI, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to joining NREL, Dr. Arvizu was an executive with CH2M HILL Companies, Ltd. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Federal and Industrial Client Groups, overseeing technology development and acquisitions for seven business groups including environmental services and energy and power.

 

Paul Portney Introduces
Dan Arvizu

Link to Video

Link to videoLink to Video

Presentation Slides 
(Printer-friendly PDF format)

 

In 2004, Dr. Arvizu was appointed by President Bush, and confirmed by the full U.S. Senate, to the 24-member National Science Board (NSB). Dr. Arvizu has served on a number of other boards and advisory committees, including the Secretary of Energy's National Coal Council. From 2000 to 2002, he served on the Technical Advisory Board of the G8 International Renewable Energy Task Force.

Dr. Arvizu's awards and distinctions include being recognized in 2003 and 2004 as "One of the 50 Most Important Hispanics in Business and Technology" by Hispanic Engineer Magazine. He has a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Palmer
Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow,
Resources for the Future

With RFF for more than 15 years, Karen Palmer is an expert on the environmental and economic consequences of deregulation and restructuring of the electricity industry. Her work focuses on providing information to help improve the design of incentive-based environmental regulations and other regulations that face the electric utility sector. To this end, she looks to identify the most cost-effective approach to allocating emissions allowances, efficient ways to foster renewable generation, and optimal emissions reduction targets for different air pollutants.

 


Paul Portney Introduces
Karen Palmer
Link to Video
Link to video
Link to Video

 

 

Palmer's work has direct links to debates on the Clean Air Interstate Rule, which focuses on the eastern United States as a whole, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, concentrated in the Northeast.

Before joining RFF in 1989, Palmer was a teaching fellow at Boston College and a staff economist at Data Resources, Inc. In 1996-1997, she spent six months as a visiting economist at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In 2005, she was appointed RFF's first Darius Gaskins Chair. Her other work relates to recycling and producer responsibility for products after they are used by consumers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Representative
Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)

Now serving his seventh term in the United States House of Representatives, Roscoe G. Bartlett considers himself a citizen-legislator, not a politician. Prior to his election to Congress, he pursued successful careers as a professor, research scientist and inventor, small business owner, and farmer. He was first elected in 1992 to represent Maryland's Sixth District.

 

Paul Portney Introduces 
Roscoe Bartlett
Link to Video

Link to videoLink to Video

 

 

 

Representative Zach Wamp (R-TN)
Congressional Host

Now in his eleventh year as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN3) serves as Tennessee?s only member of the Appropriations Committee, which funds all discretionary spending by the federal government.

Known for his leadership, tenacity and energetic style, Wamp was elected by his colleagues to serve on the House Policy Committee where he was recently asked to chair its new Energy and Technology Subcommittee and steer House Republicans' agenda on energy policy, safety, and independence. Congressman Wamp is also a senior member of the Energy and Water subcommittee, and co-chairman of the 211 member Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Caucus, working to promote legislation that secures U.S. energy independence, advances energy efficient technologies, and protects the environment by increasing use of renewable energy sources.

 

Briefing Summary

Focused on the primary energy sources that fuel U.S. transportation and power, each of the six Energy 2050 Policy Briefings will examine one of the most pressing issues on the country's policy agenda today. The first briefing, "The Future of Renewable Energy," took place June 21, 2005, on Capitol Hill. Energy policy decisions made in the next several years could affect the nature of the U.S. system for at least the next four decades.

"I think the single quickest, least expensive thing we can do to solve energy problems is to improve energy conservation and, above all, energy efficiency," commented Representative Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI), chair of the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards of the House Science Committee, during his opening remarks at the briefing. "If we went on a concerted drive to improve our energy efficiency, we could deal with most of our energy problems for the next decade, and do it probably within a year or two - it's that simple, it's that quick, and it's not that expensive."

 

Panelists discussed a variety of renewable energy options, noting that costs have declined in recent decades, but that many technologies are still not catching on in large numbers. According to the Energy Information Administration, renewable energy sources accounted for 6.1 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2002, while fossil fuels made up 86 percent. The implications of this situation have global impacts, and the panelists pointed out that a variety of factors and options will be necessary to further the prospects for renewable energy generation.

 

"These challenges are not just U.S. challenges - they are international and global challenges," commented Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "We need a whole host of technology options to draw from. There's no one silver bullet - we need to use as much of renewable energy resources as we can."

 

Karen Palmer, Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow at RFF, pointed out that the future of renewable energy depends on a number of other factors, including public policy and developments in other energy areas.

 

"It's important to recognize that the future of renewables in electricity is going to depend on what happens to the cost of other ways of generating electricity," she said, "particularly using fossil fuels and nuclear generation."

 

Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), a senior member of the House Science Committee, added that educating the public, as well as policymakers, is a critical step in furthering renewable energy options. He stressed that this must be done in order to create a more secure energy future for the United States.

 

"The average citizen in this country has no idea the emphasis that needs to be placed on renewables," he stated. "(We need to convince) our country and the world of the importance of renewables, and to make the investment."

 

The discussion of renewable energy sources for electric power generation laid the groundwork for further discussion on other aspects of energy policy in briefings to follow. Energy 2050 will also examine issues related to the supply and use of petroleum, alternative fuels, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. The series, convened by RFF, GLOBE USA (Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment USA), and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, will continue to bring together legislators, scholars, and representatives from the corporate and public sectors to discuss moving forward on this critical topic.

 

Link to Handout   Handout: Facts on U.S. Renewable Energy Use


 

 

"I think the single quickest, least expensive thing we can do to solve energy problems is to improve energy conservation and, above all, energy efficiency," commented Representative Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI), chair of the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards of the House Science Committee, during his opening remarks at the briefing. "If we went on a concerted drive to improve our energy efficiency, we could deal with most of our energy problems for the next decade, and do it probably within a year or two - it's that simple, it's that quick, and it's not that expensive."

 

Panelists discussed a variety of renewable energy options, noting that costs have declined in recent decades, but that many technologies are still not catching on in large numbers. According to the Energy Information Administration, renewable energy sources accounted for 6.1 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2002, while fossil fuels made up 86 percent. The implications of this situation have global impacts, and the panelists pointed out that a variety of factors and options will be necessary to further the prospects for renewable energy generation.

 

"These challenges are not just U.S. challenges - they are international and global challenges," commented Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "We need a whole host of technology options to draw from. There's no one silver bullet - we need to use as much of renewable energy resources as we can."

 

Karen Palmer, Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow at RFF, pointed out that the future of renewable energy depends on a number of other factors, including public policy and developments in other energy areas.

 

"It's important to recognize that the future of renewables in electricity is going to depend on what happens to the cost of other ways of generating electricity," she said, "particularly using fossil fuels and nuclear generation."

 

Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), a senior member of the House Science Committee, added that educating the public, as well as policymakers, is a critical step in furthering renewable energy options. He stressed that this must be done in order to create a more secure energy future for the United States.

 

"The average citizen in this country has no idea the emphasis that needs to be placed on renewables," he stated. "(We need to convince) our country and the world of the importance of renewables, and to make the investment."

 

The discussion of renewable energy sources for electric power generation laid the groundwork for further discussion on other aspects of energy policy in briefings to follow. Energy 2050 will also examine issues related to the supply and use of petroleum, alternative fuels, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. The series, convened by RFF, GLOBE USA (Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment USA), and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, will continue to bring together legislators, scholars, and representatives from the corporate and public sectors to discuss moving forward on this critical topic.

 

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