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October 26, 2006 Daniel Leland
Top Ten Clean Energy Opportunities Highlighted in New Report
Over 85 Candidates Sign New Energy Future Platform Supporting These
and Other Clean Energy Technologies
East Lansing, Mich. — At the Urban Options Energy and Environmental Demonstration House, Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center joined with coalition partners to unveil the ten best opportunities to move Michigan beyond fossil fuels and toward a cleaner, more secure energy future. Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center’s new report - The Road to a New Energy Future- highlights the technologies to achieve this far-reaching goal.
With energy emerging as a top issue in this election cycle, Environment Michigan announced that 85 state candidates signed the New Energy Future platform that would move Michigan toward energy independence by taking advantage of these clean energy opportunities.
“With war in the middle east, volatile gas prices, and the gathering storm of global warming, Michigan and America needs a new energy future,” said Daniel Leland, field organizer with Environment Michigan. “We cannot afford to pass up any of these golden opportunities.”
Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center’s report shows that we already have the tools to accomplish the goals of reducing our dependence on oil; harnessing clean, renewable, homegrown energy; and saving energy with high performance homes, buildings and appliances.
“Dramatic improvements in energy efficiency are possible in virtually every aspect of American life. By building homes and offices that use less energy and improving the efficiency of appliances and industrial equipment, we can transform the way we consume energy,” said David Pettit, Consumer Advocate with the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM).
Identified by the new Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center report as among the Ten Best Opportunities for a New Energy Future are:
1. Hybrid vehicles. Vehicles already exist that go 100 miles on a gallon of gas. Detroit automakers should commit to taking back a competitive advantage by building more hybrids.
2. “Zero Energy” homes. Build homes that can generate as much energy as they use by combining energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy such as solar-panels.
3. Industrial motor efficiency. The use of high-efficiency motors and better controls in the industrial, electricity generation and commercial sectors could reduce total U.S. electricity demand by as much as 15 to 25 percent.
4. Solar heated water. Using roof-mounted solar collectors to heat household water can reduce energy consumption for water heating by about two-thirds and pay for themselves within four to eight years.
5. Farm energy. The U.S. already gets about 3 percent of its energy from “biomass” -- plant waste and energy crops which can be obtained from a variety of sources, from forestry industry residues to crop residues to dedicated energy crops.
6. Harness the wind. The wind that blows through Michigan could generate enough electricity to power the entire state. The cost of wind turbines has declined by approximately 90 percent in the last 20 years, makingd wind cost-competitive with fossil fuel electricity generation.
7. Capture the power of the sun. The potential for electricity from solar energy in the United States is huge; Solar photovoltaic panels, or PV panels, placed on just 7 percent of the area currently covered by cities and residences could generate all of America’s electricity. The price of solar energy has dropped dramatically over the last two decades.
8. Change light bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 9 percent of household electricity consumption. If every Michigan household replaced its most highly used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, total household lighting consumption could be cut in half.
9. Capture the heat of the earth. The natural heat and hot water contained deep within the earth itself provides a renewable source of energy. More than one million geothermal heat pumps are currently in use in the United States, but there is great potential for expansion in the market in Michigan.
10. Put a stake in the heart of the energy vampires. Replacing existing appliances with those that minimize the energy wasted by “standby” power use could reduce energy losses by 68 percent.
To take full advantage of these ten opportunities for a new energy future, Environment Michigan is calling on all state and federal candidates to deliver on the promise of a New Energy Future by supporting policies that help Michigan and the rest of the country achieve four key goals:
With 12 days to go until the election and 85 candidates signed onto the Promise of a New Energy Future platform, there is a growing commitment among Michigan’s policy makers to move us towards energy independence. Fortunately, the technology to achieve these far-reaching goals exists today, all we need is the political will to tap it and move Michigan into the 21st Century.
The full text of the report and the New Energy Future state and federal platform are available at www.environmentmichigan.org or upon request. The list of candidates who have signed onto the platform so far is also available upon request.
Environment Michigan – a statewide, citizen-based, non profit, non partisan environmental advocacy organization – is the new home of PIRGIM’s environmental work. www.environmentmichigan.org