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Energy for America's Future

President Bush Attends Washington International Renewable Energy Conference 2008

"...[L]et me start first by telling you that America has got to change its habits. We've got to get off oil. And the reason why is, first, oil is -- dependency on oil presents a real challenge to our economy. As economies grow -- and we want all our economies to grow; we want people to be prosperous, we want people who are living in poverty to be able to grow out of poverty. We want there to be general prosperity, but as economies grow, until we change our habits, there is going to be more dependency on oil."

--President George W. Bush, March 5, 2008

Full Transcript

Fact Sheet: Increasing Our Energy Security and Confronting Climate Change Through Investment in Renewable Technologies

The United States Is Reducing Dependence On Oil By Diversifying Energy Supply, Increasing Energy Efficiency

On March 5, 2008, President Bush spoke to the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference and discussed the importance of renewable and alternative energy technologies to increasing America's energy security and addressing the long-term challenge of global climate change.  The more sources of energy we have, the less influence any one of them, such as oil, has over the United States' security and prosperity.  Renewable energies are some of the most promising new sources for energy because they are clean and because their supply can be regenerated. The Washington International Renewable Energy Conference brings together government, civil society, and private sector leaders to address benefits and costs of the global deployment of renewable energy technology.

The United States Is Increasing Renewable Fuels And Reducing Its Dependence On Oil Through Improved Energy Efficiency

In December, President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, which responded to his "Twenty in Ten" challenge in last year's State of the Union Address to improve vehicle fuel economy and increase alternative fuels.  

  • The Renewable Fuels Mandate will increase the use of renewable fuels by 500 percent – requiring fuel producers to supply at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel in the year 2022.
  • The Vehicle Fuel Economy Mandate specifies a national mandatory fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, which will save billions of gallons of fuel and increase efficiency by 40 percent.

Additionally, the Act advances the following efficiencies:

  • The Lighting Efficiency Mandate will phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs by 2014, and improve lighting efficiency by more than 70 percent by 2020.
  • The Appliance Efficiency Mandate sets over 45 new standards for appliances.
  • The Federal Government Operations Mandate will reduce the energy consumption of Federal Government facilities 30 percent by 2015. Additionally, all new Federal buildings will be carbon-neutral by 2030.

The President is reducing dependence on oil through the development and use of vehicles that run on different sources of energy.  President Bush is:

  • Calling on every vehicle manufacturer that serves the U.S. market to produce flex-fuel vehicles – cars and trucks that can be powered with either gasoline or biofuels – across their fleet;
  • Providing tax incentives for people to buy fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles that run on both gasoline and electricity; and
  • Investing in plug-in hybrids that can cover up to 40 miles on electricity alone.
  • Since President Bush took office, the Federal Government has spent more than $12 billion to research, develop, and promote alternative energy sources.

In December, President Bush signed into law new loan guarantee authorities to support alternative energy sources.  The new authority would allow additional loan guarantees of up to $38.5 billion, of which $18.5 billion in loan guarantees will support construction of new plants and enable nuclear plant owners to reduce their interest costs.  $10 billion of loan guarantees will go towards renewable and/or energy efficient systems and manufacturing, and distributed energy generation, transmission, and distribution.  This loan guarantee authority also includes: $6 million for coal-based power generation and industrial gasification activities at retrofitted and new facilities that incorporate carbon capture and sequestration or other beneficial uses of carbon; $2 million for advanced coal gasification; and $2 million for advanced nuclear facilities for the "front-end" of the nuclear fuel cycle. 

The United States Is Reducing The Use Of Gasoline In Cars And Trucks And Replacing It With Alternative Fuels

Since 2001, ethanol production has quadrupled from 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to an estimated 6.4 billion gallons in 2007, with the vast majority coming from corn.  In 2005, the United States became the world's leading ethanol producer, and last year, the U.S. accounted for nearly half of worldwide ethanol production.

The Administration is also investing in next generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol.  This can be made from wood chips, switch grass, and other agriculture products.  With the President's 2009 Budget, the Department of Energy has dedicated about $1 billion since 2001 to develop technologies that can make cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive.  Since the President took office, the projected cost of cellulosic ethanol has dropped by more than 60 percent. 

Last year, the U.S. produced about 450 million gallons of biodiesel – up 80 percent from 2006.  Today, there are more that 650 biodiesel fueling stations, and hundreds of fleet operators use biodiesel to fuel their trucks.  Every year, more Americans are realizing the benefits of biodiesel, which can produce fuel from soybeans and other vegetable oils, including waste products like recycled cooking grease. 

Over the last five years, the U.S. Government has invested about $1.2 billion in hydrogen research and development to help bring hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market.  These vehicles use no gasoline at all, and emit clean, pure water. 

The United States Is Reducing Dependence On Oil And Other Fossil Fuels By Replacing Them With Alternative Energy Sources To Power Our Homes And Workplaces

Since 2001, the U.S. has increased wind energy production by more than 300 percent.  Last year, more than 20 percent of new electrical generating capacity added in the U.S. came from wind – up from just three percent a few years ago – and the U.S. installed more wind power capacity than any other country in the world.

Between 2000 and 2007, the United States' solar energy capacity doubled – and last year, U.S. solar installations grew by more than 32 percent.

President Bush supports an increase in the use of nuclear power as a clean, efficient energy source to meet America's growing needs for electricity.  Nuclear power can generate massive amounts of electricity without causing any air pollution or emitting greenhouse gases, and a growing number of people believe it is an environmentally necessary choice. 

  • Last year, the Administration invested more than $300 million in nuclear energy technologies.
  • The Administration also launched a partnership between industry and the U.S. Government called the Nuclear Power 2010 program.  This program has resulted in six applications to build and operate new nuclear plants in the U.S., with another 13 applications expected to be submitted this year.

Investing In Renewable Energy Technologies Is One Of The Best Ways To Address The Long-Term Challenge Of Global Climate Change

The United States is forming international partnerships to pursue clean sources of renewable energy. 

  • The Administration is leading the way toward an international agreement to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.  This agreement will only be effective if it includes binding commitments by every major economy, developing or developed, and gives none a free ride. The U.S. is promoting consensus toward commitments by every major economy so as to promote post-2012 arrangements that are global and environmentally effective. 
  • To accelerate this effort, the Administration launched a series of meetings of the world's major economies, which use the most energy and emit the most greenhouse gases.  The purpose of these meetings is to support the UN negotiations by recommending a collective long-term goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, commitments to national mid-term goals with plans to back them up, and ways to cooperate on goals and technology in key industrial sectors.
  • Internationally, the U.S. launched the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, with 21 partners so far, to pursue technology breakthroughs to support the long-term expansion of clean, safe, proliferation-resistant nuclear power here and around the world – and figure out better ways to deal with the waste.
  • President Bush is committing $2 billion over the next three years to create a new international clean energy technology fund to help address the growing problem of accelerating greenhouse gas emissions in major developing countries.  Along with contributions from the U.K., Japan, and other countries around the world, this fund will increase and accelerate the deployment of cleaner, more efficient technologies in developing nations like India and China and help leverage substantial private-sector capital by making clean energy projects more financially attractive.  The U.S. believes countries seeking access to the fund should be undertaking credible national plans to limit greenhouse gases and have those plans reflected in a post-2012 climate change agreement.
  • In 2007, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced that the United States and European Union submitted a proposal – in the WTO – to increase global trade in environmental goods and services.  The initiative places priority action on technologies directly linked to addressing climate change and energy security. The U.S. and EU proposed to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental technologies and services through a two tiered approach:

    1.       A first-ever WTO agreement on worldwide elimination of tariffs on a specific list of climate friendly technologies recently identified by the World Bank.

    2.       A higher level of commitment on the part of the developed and the most advanced developing countries to eliminate barriers to trade across a broader range of other environmental technologies and an array of environment-friendly services.

  • In addition, the U.S. is forming several other international partnerships to pursue clean and renewable energy, such as the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP).  This partnership includes Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, and India.  Since its inception, the APP has endorsed over 25 new renewable energy projects. Additional international partnerships and initiatives include:  
    • Working with Sweden to advance biofuel and clean vehicle technologies
    • Cooperating with Brazil to promote biofuels research, production, and use in the hemisphere and beyond.
    • Cooperating with China to expand biofuel production and improve energy efficiency for vehicles and industry
    • Working via a U.S. company with the United Kingdom's Wave Hub to harness the power of the ocean

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