needs a comprehensive national energy policy for the 21st century that
moves us beyond decades of reliance on non-renewable and foreign energy
Energy in the United States can be cleaner, cheaper, and domestically
produced, but only if we are willing
to make hard choices, to make
significant investments in new energy technologies and industries, and
to enact smart policies that harness market forces
ingenuity on both sides of the meter and the pump.
With climate change threatening irreparable harm on our ecosystems and
economy, we need to move away from carbon-intensive sources of energy.
I support federal environmental and economic policies that will reward
zero- and low-carbon energy producers and make us less reliant than
ever on energy imported from regimes that share neither our values nor
Energy drives our economy and plays an important role in determining
where firms locate, where jobs grow, and where people choose to live.
We need a balanced approach that makes our local and global environment
safe and healthy for our children and grandchildren without saddling
families and businesses with unnecessary costs.
Government can be—and has been—a first mover in
helping stimulate the demand for energy-efficient technologies. The
heavy energy demands of military bases and battlefields can be further
addressed through new technologies, many of which can then be applied
to commercial and residential markets. Government buildings in general
are also good candidates for energy-saving
retrofits—investing in these improvements now can help
jump-start the economy and lead to long-run savings that reduce the
cost for government at all levels.
Our modern electric power grid has been called the biggest and most
complex machine in the world—delivering electricity from
hundreds of power plants over 200,000 miles of high tension
transmission lines, to millions of consumers. While the grid is an
engineering marvel, it needs to be smarter. We need to make investments
in a smart-grid that increase the efficiency of our transmission lines
and provide consumers with the opportunity to realize savings by
delivering more transparency on usage and price.
Demand response is among the most promising new energy-efficiency
technologies and one of the fastest-growing "power sources" in the
market today. It is being developed by innovative companies in
Massachusetts such as EnerNOC and World Energy, which pay large energy
consumers to reduce their electricity demand when prices are high. A
grocery wholesaler, for example, that cuts power to its freezers during
an hour of peak demand on a hot summer afternoon, may reap significant
savings without risking any spoilage.
Increasing our investment in wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, and
biofuels will further reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil
fuels and slash greenhouse gases and other emissions. In 2011 alone,
close to 7,000 megawatts of new wind energy came on line, more than
enough to power every household in Massachusetts. Some 29 states have
set renewable portfolio standards.
We have made significant progress in installing new renewable capacity
but have a long way to go before meeting our nation's renewable energy
potential. Setting a national RPS would help spur new development of
I support the long-term development of the offshore wind industry in
the Northeastern U.S., including the Cape Wind project, which alone
will nearly double the amount of renewable power produced in
The Production Tax Credit for wind-energy projects has successfully
increased the amount of wind power and led to significant price
reductions. I support extending this tax credit to promote further
renewable production. The oil and gas industry—one of the
most profitable sectors in the history of global
commerce—currently receives $4 billion annually in direct
federal subsidies. We should re-direct these funds to other priorities.
We must also address the need for new transmission lines to carry green
power to the market. We should fast-track the permitting of new
transmission lines if at least 50 percent of the energy on those lines
will be generated from renewables.
Planning for our energy future cuts across broad economic,
environmental, and national security concerns. We cannot function as a
modern society without affordable and adequate energy resources. We
cannot survive as a people by polluting our air and water and raising
global temperatures in blind pursuit of energy supplies. And we must
not maintain our energy security by sending our sons and daughters
overseas to defend access to foreign sources of energy. Only a
comprehensive energy policy will ensure the proper balance.
Kennedy III was
elected to represent the 4th District of Massachusetts in the U.S.
Congress in the November Election. For the Record is an excerpt of a
posting on Congressman Kennedy's website.