President Obama promised a commitment to green energy, and today, the United States Committee on Energy and Commerce delivered, through the introduction of new federal clean energy legislation that, according to the press release, "will create millions of clean energy jobs, put America on the path to energy independence, and cut global warming pollution."
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) is still in the draft stage, but it certainly looks promising, and I must admit to a bit of envy of our American friends and their progressive legislators. Here is the Discussion Draft Summary (click to download) which is definitely worth reading (all I can say is wow!). The New York Times' Green Inc. blog weighs in on the reaction to the controversial legislation.
The ACESA will focus on four principle areas:
- Clean Energy: which includes renewable energy load requirements at 6% in 2012 and a whopping 25% in 2025, carbon capture and sequestration, clean fuels and vehicles, smart grid and electricity transmission.
- Energy Efficiency: which includes new building and appliance standards, energy rebates, new fuel and emissions standards, and national energy efficiency standards.
- Reducing Global Warming Pollution: which includes a market-based program of "allowances" and "offsets" for electric utilities, oil companies, large industrial sources and other entities (looks alot like cap and trade), steps to preventing international deforestation and the introduction of additional greenhouse gas standards.
- Transitioning to a Clean Energy Economy: which includes measures to ensure domestic competitiveness in the form of rebates for companies which produce commodities that are traded globally, the promotion of green jobs, consumer assistance, export of clean tech and a high level response to global warming.
In Canada, we can't even begin to compare our green energy legislation to the Americans, there is definitely nothing like the proposed ACESA, which is definitely too bad, but perhaps also a goal for our country's leaders. For some recent Canadian context, the federal government has just invested $140M with the major oil companies for carbon-capture projects (ugh!). In addition, the feds have not renewed the very successful (and green economy stimulating) Canadian ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program.
In all, it remain to be seen what will become of the surely to be ACESA, but judging by the broad reach of the proposed legislation, the Obama Administration means business when it comes to the green economy. One thing is abundantly clear - the United States sees clean energy, energy efficiency and fighting climate change as part of the new world order and critical to the future of America. This leadership is something Canadians should recognize and the smart ones will harness the momentum from south of the border and work to create our own carbon-reduced green energy economy. The green energy technology revolution: you can't stop it, you can only hope to contain it.