August 2nd, 2006 13:29 EST
EP Act at One Event Clipper Wind Manufacturing Facility
Thank you, Tom, for the introduction. I enjoyed my tour of your new manufacturing facility this morning, and am very excited about the tremendous strides being made here in the development of wind turbine technology, and its integration into our national economy.
I`d also like to thank Senator Grassley for his ardent support for increasing the amount of windpower in the U.S. and especially his leadership on the production tax credit for renewable energy. Congressman Leach and Congressman Nussle have also provided unwavering support to this industry and to this region. Their staffs are represented here and I thank them for coming today
I am also proud of the contributions made by the Energy Department`s Wind Turbine Technology R&D effort that has contributed in part to the success of The Liberty Turbine here at Clipper Windpower. You are to be congratulated for your part in escalating the use of wind power as a reliable renewable form of energy.
Clipper Windpower`s Liberty Turbine is not only one of the most advanced wind turbines produced " it may be the most efficient wind turbine in the world. It`s this kind of technological breakthrough that investments in the new energy economy can produce thanks to the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The turbines produced here are an indispensable part of our strategy for the nation`s energy future; one that envisions new developments in energy science and technology pointing the way towards commercially available, reliable and renewable energy.
In the year since EPAct became law, more than half a million homes have acquired the ability to use wind power. With 2,000 additional megawatts of wind power on line thanks to EPAct, we`ve been able to offset almost 7 billion pounds of CO2 emissions.
I came to Cedar Rapids today to see this cutting-edged technology first hand, but also to talk with you for a few moments about the future of U.S. energy policy. Thanks to EP Act, for the first time in more than a decade the United States has a comprehensive, long-term energy strategy in place.
I think you all know that enhancing America`s energy security has been a priority for this President and this Administration since its first day in office and it will be a priority on its last. America needed a long term energy strategy and, thanks to the EP Act, it got one.
Increasing our energy security means developing a better understanding of the kinds of fuels we use and will use in the future, where we will get them and, most importantly, how. EP Act allows for this under what I like to consider the three pillars of energy security:
First, the United States must diversify its energy supply through alternative renewables like biofuels, solar and wind power;
Second, we must increase efficiency and production of all conventional sources of energy and renewables like solar, wind, hydrogen and biofuels including biodiesel and eventually cellulosic ethanol. We must also develop a greater reliance on nuclear and cleaner coal technologies that enhance efficiency while producing dramatically fewer carbon emissions that may harm the environment; and,
Third, that we must modernize our energy infrastructure, which includes upgrading and extending the continental power grid so that we unlock abundant, clean, and affordable natural resources and the electricity from wind farms can be sent anywhere that it is needed.
There are, of course, many different components involved in each of these tasks.
We`re moving closer to bringing reliable, cost-effective renewable energy to market, whether it`s through integrated bio-refinery demonstration projects authorized under EPAct or renewable energy production tax credits like the 10 percent credit for businesses that install qualifying stationary micro-turbine power plants.
Earlier today I was in Illinois where I announced the availability of $250 million in funding for two new Bioenergy Research Centers, where we expect to produce transforming discoveries in basic science that will revolutionize the technology and economies of biofuels production.
Through EP Act, we are raising energy efficiency standards so that businesses and consumers will have a wider range of energy efficient products from which to choose for their homes and businesses. We`ve taken up the challenge of improving the infrastructure by streamlining the permitting process for major energy construction projects and by beginning the process of designating new energy corridors on federal lands.
From the point of construction to the point of delivery and efficient use, the Energy Policy Act has set the stage for America`s energy future. There is still much to do. For example, the Department of Energy is working with other federal agencies to balance the needs of a growing wind industry against the concerns of civilian and military radar installations. This is a problem that reminds us of the need for consistent, clear government support when addressing wider wind siting issues. We are confident a solution can be found that is safe for radar, safe for planes, safe for national defense and accelerates the wind industry`s growth.
As part of the Advanced Energy Initiative the President announced in his most recent State of the Union, the Department is seeking a funding increase for next year of 13 percent, a total of $44 million for wind energy research.
We must also move ahead on a delivery infrastructure for E-85 so consumers can have greater choice in the way they power their vehicles. We want to change the way we power our homes and offices so that renewable energy someday accounts for as much as 20 percent of our national generating capacity " which may start with the high-tech turbines produced in factories like this. Now that there is a national strategy firmly in place, we can take America where she needs to go.
I am energized by all that has happened in the year since the passage of EP Act. And I plan to continue to challenge my colleagues to work just as hard in the 2nd year of EP Act to create even greater returns for the American people on the road to energy security.
Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940