Green energy, politics lead agenda at Vegas summit

August 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

U.S. renewable energy efforts lag behind those in other countries, Clinton said, recalling losing Senate backing for the 1997 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The U.S. never ratified the treaty, dubbed the Kyoto accord, that aimed at cutting greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

Clinton said it will take what he called “a bias toward action, a bias for cooperation and a bias toward thinking big” to change the future.

“The power of example changes consciousness,” he said, adding that slow change shouldn’t discourage development and government can help with programs like tax incentives for renewable energy projects.

Germany and China have used such incentives to become leaders in solar power around the world, he said.

Clinton also took several one-on-one questions from his former White House chief-of-staff John Podesta, now the head of a think tank and an energy conference organizer. The former president didn’t take questions from the audience or the media at the conference focusing on wind, solar and geothermal energy.

Reid and Salazar hailed San Francisco-based Pattern Energy’s Spring Valley project as the first wind major wind farm in Nevada. It’s is designed to produce to up to 150 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 45,000 homes. Salazar called it an example of an Obama administration strategy toward freeing the use of federal lands for energy production.

In Washington, the administration announced Tuesday that seven solar and wind energy projects in Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming would be fast-tracked. Officials said they together could produce nearly 5,000 megawatts, or enough to power 1.5 million homes.

“We’ve come too far to allow the clock of progress to be turned back,” Salazar said.

President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have differing approaches to domestic energy production.

Obama touts renewable energy, while Romney wants to reduce obstacles to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy development. Romney also supports opening the Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves to drilling, as well as Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska. He says green power has yet to become viable and the causes of climate change are unknown.

Reid declined to comment Tuesday about Arctic drilling, saying he wanted to keep the focus of his conference on renewable energy projects. But in his opening comments to the conference, Reid derided those who deny that the burning of fossil fuels has contributed to global climate change.

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