COALITION URGES SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE TO CONVENE CONFERENCE ON RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The organizations pointed out that "the energy savings realized each year through energy efficiency measures since the 1970s are larger than the amount of energy we produce or consume from any single energy source.

WASHINGTON DC -- In a letter sent today, 27 of the organizations comprising the Sustainable Energy Coalition requested that the Members of the U.S.

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convene a conference to examine the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to meet U.S. energy needs.

The letter noted that the Committee had convened a similar conference on natural gas issues in January and was planning a forum on coal in March. It suggested that a similar venue on "the range and characteristics of renewable energy resources and the mix of sustainable energy and energy efficient technologies (including Combined Heat & Power, fuel cells, and renewable hydrogen) would be very helpful to the Committee in identifying both short term and long term actions that address our current fossil fuel shortages, our stressed electricity delivery systems, and a number of environmental concerns."

In this sense, efficiency has proven to be our nation's largest energy resource and should be our first recourse in a sustainable energy policy.

"Furthermore, renewable energy presently provides about 8% of the nation's domestic energy production while, on a percentage basis, technologies such as wind, biofuels, and photovoltaic cells are among the nation's fastest growing sources of energy supply. Collectively, renewable energy sources contribute more to the nation's energy supply than do so-called clean coal technologies."

While acknowledging that "a portion of the earlier Natural Gas Conference was devoted to looking at sustainable energy alternatives and that may the intent for the forthcoming Coal Conference as well," the groups argued that "it is a great mistake to view energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies as being merely adjuncts or supplements to natural gas, coal, oil, or nuclear. Not only are sustainable energy technologies major contributors in their own right to the nation's overall current energy mix, as earlier noted, they are poised to become the primary components in the years to come.

"[Therefore,] we urge the Senate Energy Committee to convene an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Conference."

The full text of the letter and list of signers follows.

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The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of more than 80 national and state level business, consumer, environmental, and energy policy organizations which collectively represent several thousand companies and community-based groups. Founded in 1992, the coalition works to promote increaed use fo renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

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SUSTAINABLE ENERGY COALITION
1612 "K" Street, N.W.; #202-A
Washington, D.C. 20006
202-293-2898, x.201

February 18, 2006

Senator Pete V. Domenici, Chairman
Senator Jeff Bingaman, Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senators Domenici, Bingaman:

We, the undersigned business, consumer, environmental, and energy policy organizations, are writing to request that the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convene a conference dedicated to the role to be played by renewable energy resources and energy efficiency technologies in the nation's energy mix as well as the policies needed to fully tap their potential.

We applaud the Committee's sponsorship of a Natural Gas Conference last month and its plans to convene a comparable session on March 10 focused on coal issues. We believe that a similar venue on the range and characteristics of renewable energy resources and the mix of sustainable energy and energy efficient technologies (including Combined Heat & Power, fuel cells, and renewable hydrogen) would be very helpful to the Committee in identifying both short term and long term actions that address our current fossil fuel shortages, our stressed electricity delivery systems, and a number of environmental concerns.

As you know, the energy savings realized each year through energy efficiency measures since the 1970s are larger than the amount of energy we produce or consume from any single energy source. In this sense, efficiency has proven to be our nation's largest energy resource and should be our first recourse in a sustainable energy policy.

Furthermore, renewable energy presently provides about 8% of the nation's domestic energy production while, on a percentage basis, technologies such as wind, biofuels, and photovoltaic cells are among the nation's fastest growing sources of energy supply. Collectively, renewable energy sources contribute more to the nation's energy supply than do so-called clean coal technologies. Many other renewable resources and innovative technologies to take advantage of them have emerged and should become part of the nation's supply of clean and renewable power. A conference on renewable resources and technologies will further help these technologies enter into the mix of energy technologies.

Combined, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries include thousands of domestic companies that are providing an ever-growing number of high-quality jobs in every state and community in the United States. These technologies 1) help to lessen reliance on costly energy imports, thereby enhancing both national and homeland security as well as reducing the national trade deficit, 2) improve the reliability of the nation's electrical grid, and 3) reduce the production of greenhouse gases and other pollutants that contribute to a host of environmental and public health problems.

With an increasing share of the federal government's resources focused on terrorism, national, energy and homeland security, it is clear that much more attention should be paid to energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy technologies. They, in fact, are becoming our front line of defense in these important areas and should be treated accordingly.

We are aware that a portion of the earlier Natural Gas Conference was devoted to looking at sustainable energy alternatives and that may the intent for the forthcoming Coal Conference as well.

However, we believe that it is a great mistake to view energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies as being merely adjuncts or supplements to natural gas, coal, oil, or nuclear. Not only are sustainable energy technologies major contributors in their own right to the nation's overall current energy mix, as earlier noted, they are poised to become the primary components in the years to come. We believe it is vital to this nation's well being over the long term to develop such renewable resources and technologies in order to stem the tide of funds being transferred to foreign nations for energy.

Accordingly, we urge the Senate Energy Committee to convene an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Conference. This would focus on the nature of the renewable energy resource base, as well as the range, types, and present contribution of innovative and affordable sustainable energy technologies, their near-term cost-effective potential to meet the nation's national security, economic, transmission reliability, and environmental needs, federal policies needed to further stimulate their development, and institutional, financial, and structural impediments to their growth.

We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and/or members of your staff to discuss this further and offer our assistance in developing the outlines of an effective conference sponsored by the Senate Energy Committee on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Sincerely,

Alliance to Save Energy
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy American Public Power Association American Solar Energy Society American Wind Energy Association Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc.
Breakthrough Technologies Institute
Business Council for Sustainable Energy
Cascade Associates
Clean Fuels Development Coalition
Colorado Energy Group
Energy Innovations
Environmental & Energy Study Institute
Geothermal Energy Association
Geothermal Resources Council
National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition
National Environmental Trust
National Hydropower Association
New Community Project
New Uses Council
Solar Energy Industries Association
Solena Group, Inc.
The Stella Group, Ltd.
Union of Concerned Scientists
U.S. Combined Heat & Power Association
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation


cc. Members, Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources

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