The Energy Independence Implications of the Auto Bailout Proposal (Part 1 of 2)

The Energy Independence Implications of the Auto Bailout Proposal (Part 1 of 2)

[Official GPO Transcript] [The Chairman] Good morning. This hearing
is called to order. The emission of heat trapping gases from electric power
plants is a huge source of global warming pollution in our
country and around the world. If we are to solve this problem,
we need to transform this process into one that provides
us the power we need from safe, clean, affordable sources
of electricity, starting immediately. Right now the combustion
of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas produce the
majority of U.S. electricity, over 70 percent. And it’s responsible
for about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Excluding
hydropower, renewables make up just 2.4 percent of electricity
generation in the United States. The good news is that the way we generate
electricity is beginning to change. Last year, over 2400
megawatts of new generating capacity were added across the
country from wind trailing only the new capacity added from
natural gas. Meanwhile, last year, we added only 600 megawatts
of new capacity from coal and no additional capacity
from nuclear. This year, projections indicate that we are
going to add between 3,000 and 4,000 new megawatts of wind
capacity and that is big news. This increased use of wind and
other renewable technologies such as solar, biomass, and geothermal,
is due in part, to the states that have been taking
the lead in requiring the production of renewable electricity. Across the country, there has been a groundswell
of public support for changing the way we generate electricity.
Currently, 25 states and the District of Columbia have put in
place Renewable Electricity Standards. A state Renewable
Electricity Standard may vary in how much renewable electricity
it requires or its definition of eligible renewable projects,
but all share the same goal, to move our electricity sector
away from fossil fuels that produce global warming pollution
and towards clean, renewable technologies. That will be the goal of our hearing today.
We thank all who are going to participate. The Energy Bill
was just passed in August, adopting an amendment from Representative
Tom Udall and Todd Platts, working with Congressman
Mark Udall from Colorado which created a national Renewable
Electricity Standard requiring that 15 percent of our
electricity come from renewable sources and efficiency by the year
2020. That was a big moment on the House Floor and it portends
big things to happen before the end of this year. That completes
the opening statement from the chair. I now turn and recognize the Ranking Member
of the Select Committee, the gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr.
Sensenbrenner. [Mr. Sensenbrenner] Thank you very much, Mr.
Chairman. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that I support
the development of renewable energy including wind, solar,
biomass, and hydroelectric power. Week after week, Republicans
on this Panel have said that technology provides the only
real path to a global warming solution. We can’t stop using
energy, but we can develop ways to create energy without releasing
CO2. It may also not surprise you to know that
I voted against government regulations requiring power companies
to include renewable energy as one of its sources. So how can I say I’m for renewable energy
and then vote against requiring it? The answer is simple.
Because I firmly believe that if we were to find realistic
global warming solutions, Congress should encourage technological
competition, but must not pick who wins and who loses.
By requiring electric utilities to generate a portion of their energy
through renewable sources, the government is picking
the winners and in these cases the winners will be certain types
of renewable sources. The problem with the renewable portfolio
is that it emphasizes the means and not the ends. After
all, the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And in
July, the House passed legislation that requires utilities
to use renewable sources to produce 15 percent of its electricity. I am skeptical of most regulation. But this
one is particularly onerous because it discounts
the progress some electric utilities have made and only because
they use methods not favored by certain congressional leaders.
One utility that would fall prey to this terrible idea is the
Southern Company and I am happy to welcome Mr. Chris Hobson,
the company’s Senior Vice President for Research and Environmental
Affairs. Should this bad policy ever become law, utilities
that are able to meet the renewable standards would presumably
produce 15 percent of its electricity without producing
any CO2, and that would be progress. But not for the Southern Company. As Mr. Hobson
will testify, 18 percent of the electricity generated
by the Southern Company today emits no carbon dioxide
whatsoever. So the Southern Company has nothing to worry
about with these regulations, right? Wrong. Unfortunately,
the Southern Company has big worries and so should all of its rate
payers with 15 percent of its electricity generated by nuclear
power and another 3 percent from hydropower, Southern
Company has already met the emissions cuts required these proposed
regulations seek to create. But because the utility doesn’t
employ the use of wind turbines or solar panels, it will be
forced to pay government fees for its failure to comply.
And that will likely cost the company a billion dollars a year
which will be passed on in every rate payers’ monthly bill. Like all smart energy utilities, the Southern
Company is researching its renewable energy options,
but in the areas in the South it serves, are not conducive to
many forms of renewable energy. The South has simply too
much clouds and not enough wind, if these regulations come to
pass and Southerners will literally pay the price for their geographic
location. Congress should be promoting technological
solutions to global warming, not picking which technology
is its favorite. That isn’t a path to a solution. It’s only
a path to higher electricity bills. Additionally, I’d like
to welcome Governor Ritter to the Committee. The Governor is here
to talk about Colorado’s new energy economy and its goals
of the 20 percent renewable standard. A recent report commissioned
by the State Legislature shows that Colorado does have
an energy economy that produces 70,000 jobs, $640 million in
tax revenue and adds $22.9 billion to the state’s economy. Of course,
that energy economy comes from the oil and gas sector,
and I suspect renewable energy has far less impact on Colorado.
So I’m curious to hear how the Governor plans to
nurture a new energy economy without slowing an oil and gas sector
that appears to be a foundation to the state’s economy. I thank the chair. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
The Governor can only stay until 10 o’clock. [Mr. Blumenauer] I have no plans to speak
longer than even a portion
of that, Mr. Chairman. [The Chairman] The gentleman from Oregon is
recognized. [Mr. Blumenauer] Thank you, and I appreciate
your admonition and I will try and be brief and to the point.
But it’s just one of those rare occasions when I disagree with
my respected friend, the Ranking Republican Member as when
he equated the amount of electricity that was consumed by
a country as progress. Here, I couldn’t disagree more with
our action that we took with the leadership of our friend
from Colorado, Mr. Udall, you, Mr. Chairman, our speaker, in
establishing a national renewable portfolio standard. We’re not about picking winners and losers.
We’re about setting a framework for a broad effort to
incent the appropriate range of options for generating
energy for the future. I look forward to hearing from Governor
Ritter and our friend, Mr. Udall, because part of what they
have done is create their own renewable portfolio standard,
approved overwhelmingly by their voters. We are in the process of doing this state
by state across the country. The question is whether the federal
government will catch up and be able to do it as well.
And that is why I’m pleased to welcome Nancy Floyd who will be
speaking in a moment because she, as the founder and managing partner
of Nth Power, the first venture capital company in the world
dedicated to these renewable energy technologies, you’re
going to help operationalize it. But I think, as part of
her testimony which I hope my friend from Wisconsin will have
a chance to listen. It’s inconsistent policies of the federal
government have lost our lead in areas like wind and solar and
we need a full range of consistent federal policies like a renewable
portfolio standard to be able to give the proper incentive. I think Florida is still the Sunshine State,
but we heard some of our colleagues’ concern that they
couldn’t deal with solar. I think it’s time for us to have a
wake up call. I appreciate your scheduling this hearing and
being able to hone in on how we’ll accomplish that and I hope
I have allowed time for the Governor to speak before 10. Thank you, Mr Chair. [The Chairman] Thank you. I would ask the
other Members if they wouldn’t mind that we allow the Governor
to testify at this time and then we will–when he has completed
his testimony, have the other Members then make
their opening statements. And we will begin by recognizing
our colleague from the State of Colorado, Mark Udall. Mark, along
with his cousin, Tom, and Todd Platts, its leadership, and
the debate which we had in the first week of August on the House
Floor on increasing the national standard for renewables
and efficiency to 15 percent per year by the Year 2020, he’s
been a leader throughout his entire career going back to
the Colorado State House on the issue. Welcome, Mark, and whenever you’re ready,
please begin. Mr. Udall of Colorado. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In the spirit of assuring that the Governor has plenty
of time to tell you about the great successes in Colorado,
I’d like to ask that the full text of my introduction which is
noteworthy and full of a lot of substance be included in the record
and I’ll shorten my introduction of the Governor. [The Chairman] Without objection. We’ll set
aside one full textbook for that. Mr. Udall of Colorado. Let me just tell you
that the Governor, he’s widely respected and popular
in Colorado and that’s in many ways because during his short
time in office, less than a year, he’s reformed many of our
natural resource policies which require us to be responsible
in how we develop and protect our air and our water and our
land. He’s working towards creating a 21st century transportation
system which Mr. Blumenauer would be very interested in, I
know. And he’s also focused on the statewide health care which,
of course, we need to do here at the federal level. And he’s
made a real point of making sure that we have the best K through
12 and higher education levels. But most importantly, he’s quickly established
the State of Colorado as a leader in renewable energy by
doubling our state’s Renewable Electricity Standard. In 2004, we were the first voters in the country
to establish a Renewable Electricity Standard
which was known as Amendment 37 and we did that in a bipartisan
way. I was fortunate to chair the committee, the state-wide
committee, with our Republican Speaker of the House,
Lola Spradley. And then this year in bipartisan fashion, our
legislature doubled the RES requirement to 20 percent by 2020,
I believe, and Governor Ritter signed that into law. So I’m
very pleased he’s here today tell you about the successes in
Colorado and what we envision for the future, not just in Colorado,
but for this great country of ours. So it’s a real honor
to introduce the Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter. [The Chairman] If you’re ready, please begin,
Governor. [Governor Ritter] Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
Chairman Markey, Representative Sensenbrenner, Members of the
Committee, Representative Udall, it’s really a pleasure
to be able to be here and be invited to testify, and so I thank
you for that. I also have read remarks that I would ask to
be entered as part of the record and I’ll make brief remarks
in lieu of that. I want to offer Congressman Udall a thank
you for his introduction and also for all the work that
he has done that relates to Colorado’s own energy economy issues
and natural resource issues. He is a strong partner in
our efforts and I will talk a little bit about what we call
the new energy economy. As Representative Udall referenced,
we passed Amendment 37 by an overwhelming margin, actually
in 2004. I think at the time, it was the first voter-led
initiative that established a Renewable Energy Standard. It is really about that that I am here to
testify here today about the efforts that we’ve made since
I have been inaugurated as the Governor of the State.
But so many of those things have their foundation in Amendment
37. It really goes back to the conversations we had then, when
our largest utility in the state came in and really opposed the
passage of Amendment 37 for many of the same reasons
you hear that people are against either a federal standard or other
state Renewable Energy Standards, things like it would cost
the rate payers an added amount of money that we can’t get to
the place that were set in the standard. We set it at ten percent
by 2015. When we proposed a bill this year that ultimately
was passed by both Houses and I signed into law,
our biggest ally, really our biggest ally was the same utility
who had opposed Amendment 37. And that’s because they found
how easy really in a sense it was to begin making their way toward
the standard that was set by the voters initially. Remember
it was ten percent by 2015. We will get to ten percent
by the end of this year. So eight years early, we’re going to
get to that ten percent mark in Colorado and we have on-going
testimony by that utility that talks about in front of our PUC
will come in and talk about least-cost options as part of our
utility commission’s standard when they’re asking
how we’re going to generate electricity. The least-cost options
actually include the generation of wind as a part of that. We have seen that utility come in now and
be an ally and us resetting the standard at 20 percent by 2020.
We passed it through both Houses. I signed it into law.
That utility, like I said, was a partner in that, but our rural
electric associations initially had been carved out
of Amendment 37. When we proposed this House Bill 1281 that
was our new standard, 20 percent by 2020, all but one
REA in the state came in and again supported our efforts and were,
I think, happy to do so. So we were able to reset the standard. What we’ve seen is this, and the reason I
think to your point, Mr. Sensenbrenner, about why we call
it the new energy economy. We have a very robust traditional
energy economy. The extractive industries, oil, coal, and gas,
they are a big part of our economy. But we call it the new energy
economy because it melds the two things and it has absolutely
been significant in economic development for us to focus on
renewable energy economy in tandem with that. People who view these two economies as one
in lieu of the other I think are wrong to do that, especially
in a state like Colorado where there is robust attractive
industry activity, industrial activity going on. But we’re missing
a real opportunity prior to our setting the mandate
and in since setting the mandate, some of the things that
have happened have been, I think, just fairly significant especially
to some areas where we needed to add value to the economy,
quite frankly. In the east, we have wind farms being built.
Since I’ve been inaugurated, we’ve had ground breaking
on several different wind farms up and down the eastern
plains. We have one of the largest solar plants in the county
being built in our San Luis Valley where there is a lot of
sun. We have great geothermal possibilities. But we’ve also been
able to participate in the vertical part of that industry.
A Danish company built its first manufacturing plant
in Colorado, Vesta Blades, so it’s manufacturing those rotor
blades. Just recently had another announcement about
a company, ABA, that is going to co-locate with Colorado
State University and build manufacturing plants for a thin
film photovoltaic. Those kinds of things are our ability to take
this renewable energy economy and create jobs, both in agricultural
areas, but also in manufacturing areas and to really
add value to an economy that in many respects, as I said,
needed that to happen. If you think about the consequences environmentally,
which are all positive, if you think about the things
that we do with respect to economic development and you add
to that the part that we can play in over time energy independence
as a country, we really do believe that it has this great
trifecta impact on us as a state, certainly, and really on us
as a country. Finally, I would say this to Mr. Blumenauer’s
point, with respect to what the states are doing. The
western governors, the national governors, we are paying attention
to this issue and in many respects when we get together,
it is the thing we talk about most. Education is right up there,
but we talk about the things that we are doing as states and
it very much has to do with the frustration of there not being
a federal policy that supports us the way we do. Finally, I would say this. In a coal-producing
state, we are also about clean coal. We really believe
that this body, the federal government, needs to do all they
can to incent the development of clean coal, both research and
technology and either production tax credits or investment
tax credits. The western governors, I think would say it is
our number one goal as an association. So again, thank you so much for the opportunity
to be here and the opportunity to testify this morning,
Mr. Chairman. [The Chairman] Great. Thank you, Governor,
so much for being here. Now to the Members, I think in order to accommodate
everyone, what we’ll do is we’ll go to a round of three minute
questioning, because the Governor does have to leave by ten
o’clock. And if there is time left over, we will just keep
revolving around the Committee Members with perhaps even a
shorter period of time so that everyone can have an
opportunity. So the Chair will recognize himself now for a
round of three minutes of questions. Let me ask you, Governor, about your electricity
rates in the State of Colorado. How has this move to
10 percent renewable electricity affected the rates for
your consumers? [Governor Ritter] I think there’s been statements
by our regulated utility that actually the rates
have either–the cost of producing electricity has either been brought
down by a renewable portfolio standard or remained relatively
the same. We know that there is a difference between
the rate at which you can buy a kilowatt hour for coal and there’s
a difference between that and something like let’s say
solar. We see the price of solar coming down as the
technology gets better. Our conversations with people
who are involved in solar would say that it’s coming down pretty
significantly. We understand that as it relates to coal, if
we go to gasification or if we find technology that can strip off
CO2 at scale at the altitude that we have, with the
type of coal that we have, that that’s going to likely increase
the price of coal and we’ll be competitive with solar, but as
it stands, particularly with respect to wind, wind, natural
gas, and coal, are there in a place where they’re competitive
and it has not impacted the rates that our consumers are
paying. And again, the PUC looks at this. They pay attention
to this and it was something that we very much have paid attention
to as we move through this renewable portfolio standard. [The Chairman] Now with regard to the rural
parts of Colorado, could you talk about the impact
that this new momentum is having and could have on rural
Colorado? [Governor Ritter] Well, Florida Power and
Light is building one of the largest wind farms in the northeast
part of the state, which is part of an opening, a ribbon-cutting
last week where we put 75 megawatts on line that will
produce energy for 220,000 homes. We already had 108 turbines
on land just east of that. British Petroleum is building one wind
farm and has talked about additional wind farms and each
time they do that imagine if a farmer–there’s a place in the
Southeast part of the state, 108 turbines. They only have 68
acres out of production. They can make a choice between
either taking a per turbine lease where they are paid by the turbine,
or they can decide that they take a percentage of the
electricity produced and the cost that—- [The Chairman] If they take a per turbine
lease, do you know what the average farmer or rancher receives
in compensation? [Governor Ritter] It’s my sense it’s somewhere
around four to five thousand. And actually, we’re joined
by some Coloradans here, one of whom has eight turbines on his
land. We just talked about that. The newest contracts now
are giving you the alternative of one or the other, and I think
maybe it’s either $3,500 or the cost of the, or the percentage
of the electricity that’s generated and the price that they’re
earning for that. It’s one of the two. And so, it is still significant.
I mean, I know there is a farmer that’s getting a $4,000
per lease turbine and, you know, if you have 100 turbines
on your land and you only have 68 acres out of production,
it doesn’t take long to do the math and understand what value
you are adding not just to that farmer, but to these counties
and to their tax base and that’s very significant for us as
a state. [Governor Ritter] My time has expired. I recognize
the gentleman from Wisconsin. [Mr. Sensenbrenner] Thank you, Governor. I
am curious about the transmission lines siting issues because
very frequently the places that are best for renewable energies,
particularly solar and wind are not where the people are.
And I have noticed that the wind resources appear to be in eastern
Colorado. The solar resources occur, appear to be in southwestern
and south central Colorado. I have found in Wisconsin
that people don’t like transmission lines, you know, running
through their property. How do you plan to deal with that? [Governor Ritter] Thank you, Mr. Sensenbrenner.
There’s a couple of issues. One was just the availability
of transmission, because we had always been told,
and especially during the campaign when I was running because
we made renewable energy a big thing. They said, you
know, an impediment is even building the transmission.
We went to the REAs and we said to them, the Rural Electric
Associations, what does it take. They said we really need to
have bonding capacity to borrow against this, and we believe that
there’s this ability on our part to build out the transmission
if in fact we can get the bonding capacity. When I just did this ribbon cutting in the
Southeast part of the state last week, there are about 12
farmers who are involved either in having the turbines or
in having some part of the transmission lines on their property.
Basically, the farmers in the eastern plains understand the
value to the economy of this and in siting for transmission
to date has not been a problem. There was a meeting in the Southeast, the
southern east most county. It is called Baca County. It’s
a very small, not a terribly big, well-populated county, and 65
farmers showed up because they want to understand how they can
be a part of this. So it has not been a problem for us. I do
appreciate the point. In the west, we’ve always had this issue.
There are transmission lines that run across some places
that are otherwise not inhabited. And so we had that
experience, but we I think also understand that with this renewable
energy economy comes the need on our part to provide the
transmission. We’re talking to other states about a regional
transmission grid that we think has to be part of our thinking
here. But again to date, siting wasn’t the problem.
It was thinking about how we pay for it going forward and we did
two different things that will help us build out transmission. [Mr. Sensenbrenner] I have one further question
relating to traditional energy. Xcel Energy is proposing
a coal-fired plant that uses some pretty significant technology
that reduces CO2 emissions and sequesters a lot of the
other ones. Do you support these technologies and
would you support streamlining the permitting process for those
who wish to build this plant? [Governor Ritter] Well, I certainly support
the technology. I mean, everybody that we speak to around
issues of climate change will say, and we’ve had several meetings
about this. I just met with the Governors of Wyoming, Utah,
and West Virginia, actually as coal producing states,
to talk about where we are with respect to the technology
and what we need from the federal government in either production
tax credits or investment tax credits. I very much support our going forward with
research and development and providing incentives for not
just the research and development, for building the projects
to scale where the technology is proven, both is gassification
and stripping off the CO2. So I believe it is something that
has to be a part of our energy portfolio as we go forward,
and I would very much support the technology. As it relates to the permitting process, you
know, as long as those things that I think are still the
responsibility of government, air quality, water quality, and
even with us a fair amount of other issues around land use as
long as those things are still part of the process and thought
about carefully, I would support us being able to do that in
a quicker fashion. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
The chair recognized the gentleman from Oregon, Mr.
Blumenauer. [Mr. Blumenauer] Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
and I will try to atone for jumping the gun here by being short
with just one question. Governor, you may have heard that I am very
interested in having the federal government be a partner
with you by having sound, consistent stable policies over time.
I’m wondering if you have any comment on the impact of if we’re
successful in establishing a renewable portfolio standard
nationally, even if lower than your 20 by ’20, how that would
impact your efforts to evolve your new energy technologies in
Colorado. Does that help or would that hinder your efforts? [Governor Ritter] It is my understanding that
any federal RPS would take into account what states are
doing as well, already doing. I have to think that it can
only help and here is why: states are begging for involvement
by the federal government to have some kind of a consistent
and coherent national policy that looks at conservation,
looks at efficiency, looks at renewable, looks at clean
coal, looks at what the portfolio is going to be like going
forward, but has us really speaking with one mind and one voice. We’ve got people from, the Prime Minister
of Sweden visited, Governor Schwarzenegger, visited
Colorado, visited me, to talk about what we as a state are trying
to do in moving forward. I think, you know, as we talk about
climate change and the issues around climate change that we are
best as a country when we speak with one voice around something
that has such an over-arching, an over-arching impact on the
rest of the world. So I think as it relates to an RPS that’s
just one part of the conversation, but it is terribly helpful
in having the broad conversation as a country with the rest
of the world. [Mr. Blumenauer] Thank you, and I yield back. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentlelady from Tennessee,
Ms. Blackburn. [Ms. Blackburn] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Governor,
thank you for being here and following on with what
Mr. Blumenauer said, states like mine, Tennessee, are not, when
you look at a renewable energy portfolio and requirements
for different states, mine are not good areas for wind and
solar. You’ve referenced the Governors Association and the
meetings that you all and the conversations that you have there.
I think we would all be interested in what you would see as
how to have flexibility within some requirements and within
that portfolio. And I would just like to, Mr. Chairman, ask
for the record that those recommendations be given to us
so that we could see what you all, you’ve referenced some of yours
and some of your benchmarks. I think as we look at applications to the
federal level, we would enjoy hearing from you to move forward
in front of the Governors Association. [Governor Ritter] Actually, thank you very
much and I think you will see the National Governors Association
is making energy and energy issues going forward the
issue for us to discuss this coming year and Governor Pawlenty
from Minnesota is our chair and has decided that his initiative
will be about around our energy future and so it is a very
helpful discussion to have, all the governors in the room and
talk about what we as a country can do, state by state by state.
The western governors, Democrats and Republicans alike
very much share a view about how we as producing states and
consuming states can really, we think, make a difference with this
federal conversation by talking about this wide portfolio
that we should be thinking about and really, I think,
looking for assistance where research and development
is concerned regarding clean coal. [Ms. Blackburn] Great. Let me move on in that
vein. I want to talk a little bit about the reaction of
the public and in some of the reading we’ve done with what you’ve
done, you’ve promoted the establishment of E85 stations
in your state. I want you to talk for just a minute about the
infrastructure and if you plan to use pipeline or if you’re going
to use fuel tankers, which I would imagine is what you’re
going to do for that distribution and then how that would
affect your interstate shipping and road congestion. And then also with the production of ethanol
in your state, as you’re looking at that, water resources.
We continue to hear about the impact on water resources and drought
conditions and what the impact would be on your corn production
and not only that, but access to water and water bills. You know, as we look at constituents and how
they are impacted by policy, so many times and even
in Tennessee, in my area, we’ve had a serious drought this year
and we have seen the impact of availability of water, access
to water, and then the uptake in the bills and I would be interested
in how you were going to address that. And I yield back. [The Chairman] The gentlelady’s time has expired.
If the witness would please respond. [Governor Ritter] Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As it relates to E85, we have I think 13 pumps or we had at
the beginning of this year. GM, General Motors, came in with
us. We made an agreement to quadruple the number of E85 pumps.
So that’s a corn-based ethanol. What I’ll tell you is
this. We have significant research happening in Colorado.
Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, and the
University of Colorado formed a collaboratory. We did and
the state government formed a collaboratory with the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. I think if you talk to the researchers, most
of them would agree that while it is important for us to
focus on E85 and corn-based ethanol as a transition, it is
not necessarily the fuel of the future. It’s not the biofuel of
the future, that there is a great deal of research going on
with respect to other kinds of biofuels that may well be the
new energy economy’s fuel. However, it is important that we have this
idea about this transition fuel, this corn-based ethanol,
so the public begins to become aware of it so that automobile manufacturers
begin to respond to it. And whether it is a hybrid
car or whether it is some type of biofuel, we will see. But we
know right now that corn ethanol is giving us this ability to
think about it in terms of transmission. We just opened a biodiesel
plant made purely from sunflower oil in the southwestern
part of our state. Again, a great economic development
for that little county. Water is an issue in Colorado. We’re in an
arid state. We’re at the seventh year of a seven year
drought, so we very much pay attention to it and I think that’s
why some of the research that’s happening as well at those
universities and at the collaboratory involves drought-resistant
kinds of crops. Cellulosic ethanol is what a lot of people
talk about as part of the future, but we’re very mindful that
these kinds of policies do have impact. They have impact
on corn prices, which in turn have impact on beef prices and we’re
a cattle producing state, so we’re watching this all very carefully,
understanding that this is not a place where you do pick
winners and losers. We’re very much trying to put in place policies
that are science and technology neutral, but that still
inspire us to do what we need to do as a country to move in
that direction around just a biofuel that I think responds
to the concerns that you address. [The Chairman] Thank you, Governor. The gentleman
from Washington State, Mr. Inslee. [Mr. Inslee] Thank you. First, I want to thank
you for your leadership in Colorado. Thanks for sending
us Mr. Udall. He has done a great job for us federally, and we
follow Colorado with the second RPS by popular vote and we sort
of stole the playbook from you and we appreciate your efforts
on that. I want to ask you about feed-in tariffs as
an adjunct to renewable portfolio. I’ve been talking with
some folks who suggested that having a program where you
a pay a given amount for the amount of energy that is produced
from solar or wind has some advantages compared to renewable
portfolio standard for next generation technologies. I’ve heard
some people suggest that a renewable portfolio standard
is really good for sort of the next technology, but really not
maybe so good for the second, third, or fourth. They may be
just a little behind as far as the cost of development. Do you have any thoughts about that? Some
people suggested that we ought to look at a feed-in tariff
as well to help some of those second, third, and fourth generation
technologies coming on. [Governor Ritter] Mostly, this in my conversations
with wind producers, where the technologies have actually
gotten much better. We are in that next generation of
wind production right now and we’re experiencing that in Colorado
with the change in the size of the blades and I think the way
the turbines are working and that happened without a feed-in
tariff. Likewise, as it relates to solar, we’re talking
to people, the solar producers, about concentrated solar
power and that being sort of the next generation of solar
technology. I myself think of feed-in tariffs this way, that if
they happen, they have to happen at this level, at the federal
level, that you have to think about it and you really have
to develop an understanding that as a state, you put yourself
in a real hole if you try and do it state by state by state,
same really, in some respects, with other kinds of issues
that impact this carbon trading as one of those issues that
is hard to do even region by region but might be workable. But respect to fees and tariff, we have not,
I have not seen how they would incentivize differently
than what is already happening, these renewable portfolio
standards. [Mr. Inslee] Right, I appreciate that. By
the way, we’re really, at least I’m very excited about solar
thermal. You know, we’ve seen there’s going to be some
announcements next week actually about some solar thermal contracts
that are going to blow people away. I think it would be very
exciting for us and I will crow about your success and the
second version is getting to write a book about clean energy
called Apollo’s Fire. You didn’t get in, but in the sequel, I want
to make sure you get in it, because of your success. Thanks
for your leadership. [Governor Ritter] I appreciate the hopeful
mention. [Mr. Inslee] Yes. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon, Mr.
Walden. [Mr. Walden] Good morning. Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. I want to pursue the issue of geothermal. I represent
eastern Oregon, about 70,000 square miles and I was down at
Oregon Institute of Technology recently and was told by some folks
there and elsewhere that up to two-thirds of Oregon’s
electric energy production could come from geothermal sources
given that now there’s technology, you can produce electricity
at 163 degree water. And I’m just curious about how we pursue that
geothermal and your views on this because a lot of those
resources reside on public lands, as you know. I don’t have
to tell you in the West or half of my state is under public ownership
and it’s very, very restrictive to get in there. And
yet, some of those resources may hold great promise for us to
have a very carbon neutral or carbon offsetting potential for
electricity. Do you encounter those problems in Colorado
and if so, what advice could you give this Congress in terms
of accessing those resources? [Governor Ritter] The State of Colorado, we
believe, has the fourth best potential for geothermal of the
50 states and so I don’t know where we fall. [Mr. Walden] It’s got to be below Oregon.
It just has to be. [Laughter.] [Governor Ritter] Well, if you think about
it Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs, all those big cities
we named after springs we did for a reason because we have
such great geothermal potential. And so, it’s like many
other things we ask how do we incentivize the building out
of that, because as far as I know geothermal is not something
that we have tapped nearly like we’ve begun to tap wind and even
solar and something we intend to do. We’re looking at the possibility of supplying
power to our Governor’s residence with geothermal because
the technology is there and it is easy enough to tap. The question
is how will we do it on public lands and I think that that
has to be again decisions made back here. We have 23 million
acres of land in Colorado and would very much enjoy, I think,
a federal policy that incentivizes it the way that we’ve incentivized
wind power through the investment tax change. I concur, because I think it can be clean
energy. I think it can be done in an environmentally appropriate
way. The question is can we get through the hurdles
that are in front of us and every other sort of energy development
or use on federal land. The final question I’d have involves
this issue of biomass and I know having chaired the Forestry
Subcommittee, my friend and colleague from Colorado, Mr. Udall,
is involved in forestry issues. Don’t you face some severe
forest health issues, part of which may be driven by increased
temperature which bring about drought and changed structures?
And don’t you think the federal government should be doing
more to allow us to get in on the different forests and thin
them out quicker and replant and restore after fires and use
the biomass for energy production? [Mr. Walden] Yes. We really have a serious
pine beetle infestation. [Governor Ritter] Yes, I know you do. [Mr. Walden] Problem in Colorado, very serious,
log pole pine, they’re all about 80 years old and that
increased sort of the infection rate from tree to tree to tree.
As a result, we have entire forests that are damaged and infected.
And the fire damage is elevated slightly right now, the
needles have turned red, but as those trees fall over in the next
15 to 20 years, the fire danger is very much exaggerated and
so I’ve spoken with U.S. Forest Department, I’ve spoken with
Mark Ray, the Chief of the Forest Service and asked them
this question, this very question, how can we begin to clear that
land and reduce the fire danger over time and use the wood
for woody biomass to generate electricity. [Governor Ritter] I had some legislation last
session that we could have gotten that done if we could
have gotten it through the Senate. Thank you. [Mr. Walden] Great minds think alike here. [The Chairman] The gentleman from Missouri,
Mr. Cleaver. [Mr. Cleaver] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank
you, Mr. Udall for all your work, and Governor, thank you
for being here. I just have one question and I’m from Missouri
and we do have RPS put in place voluntarily and it’s
11 percent by 2020. What chances do you think we have of meeting
those goals voluntarily? I mean I think the effort put
in to establishing this was good. People were genuinely interested
in trying to make some dramatic changes in the way we handle
electricity. But a voluntary program does not appear, based
on what’s happening so far to have the same amount of
juice that a government-mandated program would have. So
am I off? What do you say based on what’s happening in Colorado? [Governor Ritter] Thank you, Mr. Cleaver,
and I would have to say that our mandate that was voter passed
really showed that the leadership was coming from the people,
but they wanted a mandate. They wanted the utilities to have
to do this and that was three years ago. It was 10 percent
by 2015. I suspect if we had said voluntarily we would like you
to get there, that the result would be different than us looking
at that 10 percent by the end of this year and achieving
that goal. I’m not a person who thinks that across-the-board
mandates are the right thing, but this is too important
a conversation for us to not undertake and undertake now
because of what we face if we don’t make the right, I think,
transition to clean energy and to renewable technologies and conservation
and efficiency and that’s really–part of my point
is it’s part of this other bigger conversation. But some of
it has to come through mandates I think to force the conversation,
but then what we found were our biggest opponents became
our biggest allies when they understood the benefits of
getting there. I appreciate it and just a moment of privilege,
I met Representative Cleaver when he was the Mayor
of Kansas City. He came to Denver and I was a District Attorney
and he was a wonderful and gifted speaker and helped us
in many respects form some public policy around responding
to violence and it’s just great to see you again, Mr. Representative,
thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me that
point of privilege. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
The gentleman from California, Mr. McNerney. [Mr. McNerney] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank
you for coming to see us this morning, Governor. I want to
echo some comments I’ve already heard. California has adopted
renewable portfolio standards and the utility companies resisted
it at first and we found that once they got on board, they met
the goals early and we’re having to increase our performance standards
numbers and they’re willing to go out after those so it’s
very common to see that sort of behavior. I want to thank Mr. Walden for bringing up
the comment about geothermal energy. It’s very effective
for some states like Colorado, so whatever we can do to help
that. I have a couple of questions. How large an
impact has the sales tax exemption on both the production
of renewable energy and on the state revenues? [Governor Ritter] The sales tax exemption,
Mr. McNerney, was just passed in this last session. Actually,
there were some power purchase agreements where they believe
that it was in place and there was some question about whether
it was or was not. It has been a big impact in having, I
think, wind companies decide to build there going forward
because they really believe that it can impact the margin
sufficiently enough that this does become again, remain
competitive with natural gas and coal. So it was, it has had
a big impact on decisions. We’ve met with the companies. With the companies
that are making decisions. Florida Power and Light,
I think may well have made a decision and went the other way,
had we decided not to put in place that sales tax exemption in
law. [Mr. McNerney] But you don’t have an idea
of how that’s going to impact the state revenues? [Governor Ritter] Well, no. Not until it’s
all said and done, but what I can tell you so Florida Power
and Light is putting in, we think it’s the second biggest
wind farm in America and 300 and some turbines and if we
go back to the price that these farmers earn, the difference
it makes, and even what we think may be the production that
will happen at the wind blade manufacturing company in Colorado
was a result of that, all of those things add just so significantly
to the economic activity around that, that it’s significant. [Mr. McNerney] Does Colorado have its own
production tax credits and investment tax credits, state-wide? [Governor Ritter] It’s just the sales tax
exemption for the manufacturing of equipment that’s used to
produce renewables. That’s what we have, sir. [Mr. McNerney] In the time remaining, could
you describe how the performance contracting works on state
buildings? [Governor Ritter] Again, the answer is yes,
and it’s new. I can answer how it works, but it’s very new
for us and we passed performance contracting on state buildings
and I signed an executive order that’s a greening of government
executive order and we will look to the build-out of buildings
that create energy efficiencies, that create energy conservation
as a part of it, that meet certain leads standard and
we hope at the end of the day a leads gold standard for all new
state buildings and that that will all be part of the performance
contract that goes on going forward as a result of our executive
order and the legislation that we passed around that. [Mr. McNerney] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
Governor, could you just, as you leave, give us your
advice to the other states. Give us your advice to the other Governors
to the other utilities like your utility that initially
was hesitant to embrace this new vision and this whole concept
of NIMY or BANANAs, build absolutely nothing anywhere
near anybody, what has happened in your state, what recommendation
do you have to other states and utilities in other states? [Governor Ritter] We’re a state for a lot
of reasons that’s very sensitive to climate change. We have
two of our three biggest industries, tourism and agriculture,
that are both very closely tied to not just the amount of water
that we see or the amount of rainfall, but really the kind of
rainfall. I mean, it matters that the precipitation is snow instead
of rain in the mountains. And even as it relates to our agricultural
industry, we are very, very sensitive to rainfall. And so, I think that may be one of the reasons
that in Colorado, a state like Colorado, in the last
two years, we’ve seen a 20 point shift in how people think
about climate change. And that has produced in our state the ability
to have this really serious conversation about our energy
future, both as it relates to our production but also as it relates
to consumption. When we think about our kids
and our grandkids and we ask the question what is it going to be
for them in 25 or 30 years if we don’t make decisions today about
our energy future. And so that is, I think, providing the impetus
for our initial Amendment 37 and then the ease with
which really in many respects the ease in that it was just
not great resistance from the corners you might have expected the
resistance to come from. So I think it is important to have the
conversation about a renewable portfolio in the context of this
larger conversation about climate change and really
about global warming and about our responsibility as citizens
of the state or of the country in doing something to address
it. And then to say what are the possibilities
in this state and to have a conversation that looks and
borrows experiences from other states. But every region in this
country has some level of renewable energy. Regional transmission
grids for those states that are concerned about their
lack of renewables we think a regional transmission grid is absolutely
something that we must think about in order to respond
to the needs of those states that feel they don’t have sufficient
renewables to have a portfolio in place like we do in Colorado.
But I think the most important thing is that we need to
do it and we have to do it as a part of larger efforts around
efficiencies, conservation, and clean coal investments,
and using natural gas as well. It burns less carbons. All that has
to be a part of our going forward, but if we miss the opportunity
around renewables, we really miss a significant opportunity
to make a difference on the environment and I think
have a real–miss the opportunity for us as a country to do something
that can really move us towards energy independence at a quicker
rate. [The Chairman] Thank you, Governor. Congressman
John Hall from the State of New York has just arrived.
We promised the Governor he’d be out of here in two more minutes. Do you have a question you’d like to pose
to him in that two-minute period? [Mr. Hall] No, thank you. Just thank you for
the work that you do and for being here. And I’m sorry I’m
late. [The Chairman] Governor, your testimony was
incredibly impressive and the state, your leadership,
Mark Udall’s leadership, it’s a real beacon for our country
and a standard that I think we should see for ourselves as
a nation as well. We thank you for being here today. [Governor Ritter] Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
and I appreciate that. [The Chairman] Thank you, Mark. Now what we
agreed at 9 o’clock was that any Member who wished to
make an opening statement at this time would be recognized
for that purpose. I look to the majority side and look for anyone
who might seek recognition for that purpose. The gentleman from New York. [Mr. Hall] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would
just briefly open by saying that to combat global warming
it’s clear that in addition to dealing with what comes out of
our tailpipes, we must also address the pollution from our power
plants. The environmental logic of converting from relying
on fossil fuels to climate-friendly renewables is clear and
compelling. I’m proud that my State of New York has been a
leader in this transformation adopting a 25 percent renewable
standard by 2013. I’m extraordinarily eager for Congress to
follow suit by adopting the House passed RES and sending
it to the President who I hope will have the good sense to sign
it into law. I would like to focus my questions today on
breaking down the false choice between growth and green
that some opponents of Renewable Energy Standard have tried to
put forward and I yield back the rest of my time. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
Will the gentlelady like to make an opening statement,
the gentleman from California? Would the gentleman from
Oregon like to reclaim the balance of his time? Well, then we’ll turn to our second panel
and it is a very distinguished panel. And we will ask each
of them to make an opening statement of five minutes and then
we’ll turn to the Members of the Select Committee to ask questions
of them. Our first witness is Nancy Floyd. Congressman
Bluemenauer has already referred to her incredible resume.
She is the founder and managing director of Nth Power.
Nth Power was one of the pioneering clean tech venture capital
firms and now has $400 million under management. As an active
member under E2 environmental entrepreneurs, Ms. Floyd works
to promote environmentally-minded, economic development.
In the 1980s, Ms. Floyd also founded one our country’s first
wind-development firms. We welcome you, whenever you’re ready,
please begin. [Ms. Floyd] Great. Thank you very much. It’s
a pleasure to be here, Mr. Chairman, and esteemed Members
of the Committee. I’ve been asked in my five minutes to address
the current investment environment for renewables and
what the passage, what a national Renewable Energy Standard,
how that would impact the investment community. And so I
have four key points to make. The first is that renewable energy markets
are growing explosively. The global market last year grew
39 percent, so the market was $55 billion. And that growth
is akin to the growth of the PC, the wireless and the internet
industries during their heydey. And the industry is projected
to quadruple in the next ten years to $226 billion. And
this has really been driven by a convergence of market factors,
kind of a perfect storm: resource depletion, aging infrastructure,
energy security and global warming. And the venture capital community and the
investment community at large is responding to this opportunity.
So ten years ago when I made my first venture capital
investment in this sector, less than $50 million was being
invested in new energy technology companies. Last year, $2.4
billion of venture capital, so one out of every ten dollars was
invested in clean energy. And that number is not slowing down. So it’s no wonder that clean energy is being
touted as the growth industry of the 21st century. So in
the face of this growth, the U.S., I’m sad to say is losing
jobs in investment capital to other countries. Of the top wind
companies globally only one is headquartered in the U.S., and
that is G.E. Of the top solar companies in the world, not one
is headquartered in the U.S. And I guess to add salt to wound,
of the U.S. solar companies that have gone public recently,
all of them are building manufacturing facilities outside
the country. And a case in point is one of my portfolio
companies, Evergreen Solar in Westborough, Massachusetts.
Evergreen Solar took advanced solar technology out of MIT.
They built their pilot production outside of Boston. And then
in response to market demand, they wanted to build a manufacturing
plant that was going to quadruple their output and they
wanted to locate it next to the market. That was Germany, not
the U.S. And I know that everybody on this Committee would
like to see that Evergreen Solar’s next major expansion is
in this country so the jobs stay in this country and that we
can increase the energy security of this country. So a national Renewable Electricity Standard
would help make that happen because it would create a
stable market in this country for Evergreen Solar’s products. I think it’s widely recognized that a Renewable
Electricity Standard is a fundamental market-making policy
that is going to drive innovation. It’s going to create jobs.
It is going to create and attract investment capital and
then there’s a multiplier effect here. It’s not just venture
capital investment, but alongside venture capital
in new energy technologies, you have the business expansion
capital, you have the investment in manufacturing and in renewable
energy projects. And I can tell you that those dollars
are on an order of magnitude greater than the $2.4 billion
of venture capital that was invested in technology last year. So how have state Renewable Electricity Standards
impacted jobs and investment capital? And I’m going
to cite some statistics from my part of the world which
is California and the Pacific Northwest. In all three states,
California, Washington, and Oregon have passed Renewable
Electricity Standards. Oregon, in the last legislative
session, so just this past summer. Two years ago when I testified
in front of the California State Legislature, I predicted
that there would be $11 billion invested in renewable energy
companies and projects by 2010. And I was wrong. More than
$11 billion was invested in the two years since that Renewable
Electricity Standard was passed and 50 percent of that
capital was invested in California-based companies and projects. Last year, following the passage of the Renewable
Electricity Standard in Washington State, Washington became the
second state, second largest state in terms of new wind
development, adding almost a thousand megawatts of new wind
which represented about $1.4 billion of capital investment. But
you know, the industry is not just growing on the West Coast,
it’s growing nationally. Yes, 60 percent of my firm’s portfolio
are investments that are on the West Coast, but the rest of our
portfolio is spread among 13 other states. And let me take Mississippi as an example.
I have an investment in Jackson, Mississippi, I’m on
the board, so I spend a fair amount of time in the state and
I’m well aware of the concerns of the unequal distribution of
renewable resource in this country. And we’ve heard the South
doesn’t have a lot of resource in terms of wind resource, but
they’ve got a lot of biomass. A national Renewable Electricity
Standard could jumpstart a biopower industry in the South
or maybe an energy efficiency industry because the South is the
least energy efficient region of the country on a per capita
electricity usage basis. And the EIA is—- [The Chairman] If you could please summarize. [Ms. Floyd] Yes, okay. Thank you. Renewal
energy, it’s big business. Serious companies. Series investors.
We can lead this growth sector. We have a chance to show leadership
and the investment community will step up. Thank you. [The Chairman] Thank you, Ms. Floyd. [Mr. Sloan] Our next witness is Mike Sloan,
Managing Consultant of The Wind Coalition based in
Austin, Texas. Mr. Sloan has been active in Texas renewable energy
debates since 1997, including being part of the Texas PUCs
renewable energy working group. He was appointed by then Governor
George W. Bush to serve on the Texas Energy Coordination
Council. We welcome you, sir. Whenever you’re ready,
please begin. [Mr. Sloan] Thank you, Chairman and esteemed
Members. I’m here to talk about the Renewable Energy Standard
in Texas and the related policies that have really helped
make the wind industry there the premiere market for wind
power, at least in the United States, if not the world. And to
put it in a nutshell, one thing I want to sort of underscore
from the Texas experience is that you can get quick results
with proper policies, significant results very quickly. I want to skip over and talk about the level
of wind that’s going into Texas right now. Last year, Texas
passed California to become the number one state for renewable
energy. This is going from zero 12 years ago where Texas literally
had the lowest percentage energy use of renewables
in the whole country, ranked 51st, even my District of
Columbia. So it’s come a long way very quickly and since last
year, it has almost doubled its amount of wind power. This year, there’s about $3 billion worth
of wind projects going into the State of Texas, about 2000
megawatts. There’s many more that are queued up, that have signed
interconnection agreements, over 3600 megawatts that are waiting
to come on. Some fraction of those will not be able to
come on because there’s inadequate transmission infrastructure.
If you look out further, there is a tremendous amount, nearly
40,000 megawatts of wind are exploring coming onto the system
in Texas, and there simply is not infrastructure or market
to support that right now. Only a modest fraction of that will come on,
so there’s some work to do, particularly on the infrastructure.
And that’s one new area that Texas has stepped in and
really stimulated the market is a competitive renewal energy
zone concept. It’s a proactive transmission planning regime and
the State of Texas, an interim final order is expected this week
and it will designate eight different areas out in West
Texas that will have associated transmission plans that will
support at least 10,000 to up to 26,000 megawatts of windpower.
This is from a single state. So it shows that things can
move forward quite quickly. I will just mention that last year and again
this year that the wind installations going into Texas are
actually greater than the combined power plant additions from
all other kinds of power plants in Texas, very significant. On the policy side, how Texas has done that,
it’s a combination or a suite of different policies.
First off, it did deliberative polls for education, it wanted
to find out what did customers really want and they found out
that customers wanted renewables. This was done about 10
years ago. Then the RES was developed as a catalyst. It is a catalyst
to increase use of renewable energy. So that operates
on the demand side, creates the demand. I will mention you can get diversity in a
Renewable Energy Standard, but you have to work on it. But
there are some methods to do that. That was not what was
done in Texas, though. That one is just the cheapest resource
is what is done, so it is predominately wind power. I will
mention that within three years, going from a legislative concept
to a billion dollars worth of projects on the ground took
less than three years in Texas. So you can move very quickly. We also have a renewable energy credits program
that has really helped stimulate the voluntary markets
that make the renewable goals happen faster than legislative
requirements. A key thing about the competitive renewable
energy zone, as has been pointed out, the good resources generally
are in rural areas, not where the people are. So you have
to have infrastructure. Texas went through a serious
contested case. Over fifty parties were involved, and they
made a decision that this is good for the state and they are going
to move forward with major transmission. Also very important is the role of incentives.
If you’re going to have an RES that requires people
to use it, it makes it much more appealing if you can have incentives
that bring down the production cost to put it on par
with other resources. That brings less opposition then from utilities
that want to use it if you can get these where they are
competitive. And the production tax credit has played a critical
role, the federal production tax credit, in wind power in the
State of Texas. If you look, when the production tax credit
has expired, both after 1999 and 2001, even in Texas, which
is the best wind market in the country, there were zero megawatts
installed the following year. So it is really a combined
package that works together to make it happen. There are a couple lessons learned that I
want to mention. A real key one is that the Renewable Energy
Standard has expedited market action. There’s nine investor-owned
utilities in Texas, and if you look at those that had
a requirement under the RES and those that didn’t, those that
had the requirement voluntarily bought more renewable energy for
those that didn’t buy any voluntarily. And it just shows that
it’s really a catalyst. You’re forcing these companies to
look at it. When they get more experience, they get comfortable
with it and move on. It has had a lot of benefits. It is saving
consumers money and really helps the rural areas. Thank you. [The Chairman] Thank you, Mr. Sloan, very
much. Our next witness, Chris Hobson, is from the Southern
Company. Mr. Hobson currently serves as the Southern Company’s
senior vice president for research and environmental affairs.
He has been with the Southern Company since 1973. Thank
you, sir. [Mr. Hobson] Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Congressman
Sensenbrenner and Members of the Committee, thank you for
letting me have the opportunity to come to you and talk to you
today about the use of renewable resources in the production of
electricity. Southern Company serves 4.3 million customers
in the States of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi.
We also provide competitive wholesale power in those four
states and in the Carolinas. And we do that through a diverse
portfolio of energy sources. We use coal, nuclear, natural gas,
and renewable resources. And renewable resources have played
an important role in the electric system that we operate
in the Southeast. Over a hundred years ago, the first power
plants in Alabama and Georgia were hydroelectric plants. And
even today, those same plants provide important renewable resources
of peaking power for our customers. Southern Company
believes that the use of renewable resources for power generation
can be increased, and we are working hard to make sure that
that happens. We’ve been researching and testing various
non-hydro- renewable technologies for years, including
biomass, solar, wind, and landfill menthane. But in the Southeast
region, traditional renewable resources have their
challenges. For instance, biomass is probably the most abundant
non-hydro- renewable resource in our part of the country.
We’ve been testing ways to use biomass not only in coal
firing in traditional coal-fired power plants, but also
in repowering applications. And while the increase in the use of biomass
has some promise, there are challenges. These include
the high cost of handling and transporting biomass and dealing
with a much lower heating value compared to fossil fuels. Additionally,
the cost of using biomass will likely go up as the
demand increases to meet the new cellulosic ethanol requirements
of the energy legislation. Department of Energy data shows that wind
has very limited application for power generation in the Southeast.
Our written testimony shows the DOE map that shows the
large absence of commercially available wind in our region.
We have, however, done considerable research to see where wind
resources might be available to us. We’ve worked with Georgia
Tech on a study of offshore wind possibilities off the coast
of Georgia. We have worked with TVA on the potential for wind
located on mountain ridgetops in northern Georgia and eastern
Tennessee. We’re following up on those studies. But overall, we agree with DOE that the potential
use of wind for power generation in the Southeast
is very limited. Our research and DOE data have also shown that
the use of solar energy is limited in the Southeast. It might
not be readily apparent, but cloud cover and humidity lower
the amount of solar radiation available for power generation
in the Southeast as compared to other areas of the country
like the Southwest. Solar is extremely high cost and its lower
availability for power production means that it will not be
a large source of energy production. We’re working with local
governments to tap into sources for landfill methane. This will
be a good source, resource, for small applications for power
generation. So why are we committed to increasing the
role of renewable resources in our region? We think that federal
mandates that would impose a single one size fits all standard
for renewables across the country is the wrong approach.
Such an approach was added to the House bill this past summer,
and that requirement mandates 15 percent of the utilities’ retail
sales must come from a limited set of renewables, such as
wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal. If a utility doesn’t have access to those
renewable resources in order to meet the standard, we
must either buy credits from developers in some other part
of the country or more likely pay an alternative compliance
payment to the federal government. This would be punitive
to regions that don’t have resources to meet such a standard
like the Southeast. Having to otherwise purchase credits
from developers in other parts of the country or write checks
to the federal government essentially imposes a tax on the
customers of resource-poor areas. As you can see in our written testimony, we’ve
assessed the impacts of that 15 percent mandate on our
customers. Since we don’t have enough resources available to meet
the requirement, we would have to comply by buying credit or
making alternative compliance payments to the federal government
that will result in our customers paying over $1 billion every
year to comply. Alternatively, states have taken the lead
in developing renewable programs. This approach has allowed
states and local governments to take into account the regional
differences on renewable availability. There are 25 states
with renewable portfolio standards today and those are tailored
to make sense for those states, not for our country. It
is significant that not one of the 25 state programs is consistent
with provisions included in the House energy bill this summer. We operate in the State of Florida. The State
of Florida is considering renewable portfolio standards.
We’re working with that state for the development of a program
that will make sense for Florida, but not necessarily make
sense for other states. As I’ve said, we’re working to find
ways to increase the use of renewables in a cost-effective
way in our energy mix. We believe that the current approach
of federal incentives and funding for research and development,
coupled with the development of state renewable programs is
the best way to bring renewables into the marketplace. This avoids a federal single standard that
in resource-poor areas of the country will simply mean a tax
on electricity for consumers. We don’t think that is good energy
or good environmental policy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [The Chairman] Thank you, Mr. Hobson, very
much. Our next witness is Mr. Bob Reedy. He is the Director
of the Solar Energy Center. Before coming to the Florida
Solar Energy Center. Mr. Reedy spent 23 years with the
Department of Electric and Water Utilities with the City
of Lakeland, Florida. Welcome, sir. Whenever you are ready,
please begin. [Mr. Reedy] Thank you, Chairman Markey and
Members of the Committee, certainly for the chance to present
my views but more important, for the leadership and initiative
taken in this critical area. I would begin with a quote from a famous American.
It goes like this. “I put my money on the sun and
solar energy. What a source of power. I hope we don’t have to wait
until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Well,
that was Thomas Edison. That was in 1931, and Thomas Edison
is easily considered the father of the utility industry,
as in Consolidated Edison and Commonwealth Edison,
names of major utilities. The president’s vision for the DOE’s Solar
America Initiative is changing the way we power our
homes and businesses, with a goal for a cost competitive
photovoltaic industry by 2015. The great strength of this
vision lies in the forces behind our discussion here today. We
are well on track to see this happen. While I hail from the business of the sun,
today I will speak more from the perspective of a utility.
You heard that I have spent most of my career with utilities.
Let’s take a look at the critical characteristics of energy
supply from a utility perspective, and although I speak of solar
energy, I will acknowledge that many of these characteristics
occur with other renewable technologies. Consider risk. Ultimately, the generation
decision is all about risk. Utilities are uniquely capital
intensive, with very long payback periods inherent in their business
model. So how can such inherently risky ventures as a large
coal-fired steam plant or a combined-cycle gas turbine pass
this risk criteria? These plants have many modes of mechanical
failure, which I call technology risk. They face high risk
of fuel shortages. They have large negative environmental impacts,
which is a regulatory risk. And they present a technically
unhealthy size, I call it technically unhealthy to the nation’s
grid. If you recall the blackout outages of August of 2003. So the good news I bring, the renewable energy
technologies will surely lower the risk even when evaluated
on utility terms. So let’s look at a few key elements
of this risk profile. Economic feasibility is certainly
first. U.S. Department of Energy cost projections show
the cost of PV systems without, this is without financial
incentives, decreasing from a present U.S. national average
of 32 cents per kilowatt hour to a future of nine cents per
kilowatt hour by 2020. And solar water heating, which is a fairly
mature technology, so it is likely to remain flat
in its cost projections will come in less than 8 cents
per kilowatt hour. Floridians now pay the utility about 12 cents
a kilowatt hour. If one assumes that the cost of electricity
from Florida utilities goes up by only three percent by
year, in 2010 we will pay 13 and a half cents per kilowatt
hour and by 2020, that will be 18 cents per kilowatt hour. So if no incentives or subsidies in 2020,
the energy generation systems on your roof and the energy
efficiencies built into your home will cost half the utility
rate. This is the customer perspective. The utility economies
are proportionate. Nothing about the solar energy
system on a residential rooftop precludes the utility
from owning and operating the system under an easement agreement
and enjoying the certain rate-basing capabilities of that
system. So go green and have a guaranteed return. One major frustration to the solar industry
is our persistent habit of comparing the base rate,
base load energy rate of average generation costs of conventional
generation to the peak period production costs of solar
energy. I even did it just in the paragraph above. In fact, utility
generation costs during the daily summer peak, that’s when
PV production is the highest or about three times the annual generation
cost. In a recent analysis of Florida generation
costs, the Solar Energy Center found the total amortized 30
year lifecycle cost of a new, simple cycle gas turbine peaking
unit to be around $180 per megawatt hour. [The Chairman] If you could summarize your
testimony. [Mr. Reedy] Yes, sir. And the equivalent PV
investment was less than $110 per megawatt dollar. Solar
systems are very reliable, predictable, and these are attributes
highly valued by utility. They are highly available and
we can discuss later the many ways that have not been realized
to find solar resource. [The Chairman] Thank you, sir. I appreciate
it. Our next witness is Dave Foster. He currently serves
as the Executive Director of the Blue Green Alliance, a partnership
between the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club. Previously,
he was the Director of the United Steelworkers District
No. 11 region in the Midwest and we thank you, sir, for being
here. Whenever you are ready, please begin. [Mr. Foster] Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and
Members of the Committee. One of the most famous American
industrialists of the 20th century, Henry J. Kaiser, who built
an innovative manufacturing enterprise that included aluminum,
steel, and shipbuilding and created the health care delivery
system that still bares his name, once observed that “problems
are just opportunities in work clothes.” Solving global warming need not be the economic
calamity that some are predicting. It’s our view, in
fact, that solutions to global warming, like Renewable
Energy Standards will be the most important economic development
tools of the 21st Century. Evidence of that fact already surrounds us.
In Germany, 1.4 million people are already employed in the
environmental sector and 40,000 people are employed in their wind
energy industry that in a country that has only 20 percent
of the wind resource of my home State of Minnesota. Economic studies that the Steelworkers have
supported over the past decade have shown repeatedly that
well-crafted public policies that move as steadily and predictably
toward global warming emission reductions will have a net
positive impact on jobs including in manufacturing. A 2002 study produced by the Center for Sustainable
Economies and the Economic Policy Institute showed, for
instance, that a menu of renewable energy investments,
efficiency measures, and carbon reduction mandates in line with
the Kyoto targets would have created a net increase of 1.4
million jobs in our economy including increases in most
manufacturing industries. And when these policies are accompanied with
a modest order adjustment fee to ensure that the increase
in energy costs in the U.S. does not simply result in an export
of American manufacturing to environmentally unregulated
parts of the world, we have the policy tools to rebuild
America’s manufacturing infrastructure. Another study of component manufacturing in
the renewable energy industry based on the rough equivalent
of the 20 percent RES found that 850,000 jobs would be created
with $160 billion of investment in manufacturing. This investment
would ripple through 43,000 firms and revitalize the 20
states hardest hit by the decline in manufacturing in the last
decade. Nothing, however, is quite as convincing as
actually seeing the economic activity generated by the passage
of Renewable Energy Standards in the states. In 2004, Pennsylvania
passed its 18 percent RES and as a result, Gamesa,
the Spanish wind turbine company selected the certainty of
the market demand in Pennsylvania created by that RES to build
its first North American plants. Today, almost a thousand steelworkers are
employed by Gamesa outside of Philadelphia making wind
turbines on the site of an abandoned U.S. steel mill. The company’s
products are sold out through 2009. Currently, in response to state energy standards
new wind turbine equipment plants have been built in
six communities in my part of the country, North Dakota, Minnesota,
and Iowa, directly employing over 2200 people. One of
these companies, LM Glasfiber, recently announced its agreement
to build an additional plant in Little Rock, Arkansas,
employing another 1,000 people and another DMI announced a new
power plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, employing at least 450. Wind turbine installation is also creating
jobs and bringing economic benefits to rural America.
Mortenson Construction, based in Minnesota, and one
of North America’s largest installers, now does 25 percent of
its business in wind. Mortenson installs about 2,000 megawatts
per year, employing almost a thousand construction workers
in 16 sites around the country. The company also reports
that on an average 100 megawatt project, it spends between $15
and $20 million within a 75-mile radius thus bolstering local
economies. The State of Minnesota has also calculated
the value of wind energy production to rural and farm income,
demonstrating that after initial capital costs of $1 to
$2 million have been recovered, farm profits from renewable energy
sales can rise to as much as $100,000 per year. Now some might argue that in the face of growing
evidence that renewable energy is now cost competitive
with many forms of fossil fuel-derived energy, the government
should simply get out of the way and allow the market to work
its wonders. That approach would, I fear, draw exactly the wrong
lesson from the years of involvement of the state level in
crafting these Renewable Energy Standards. These laws are
precisely what provided enough market certainty to allow
market forces to perform their function. In the Twin Cities of Minnesota, I co-chair
with the Mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul the New Green
Manufacturing Initiative, a wide-ranging task force guided
by the principle that investments in solving critical environmental
challenges such as global warming represents strategic
economic opportunities. The GMI has brought together over 100 representatives
from Xcel Energy to the Sierra Club from the Minneapolis-St.
Paul Chambers of Commerce to the construction trades
unions from the investment community to state government,
all with an eye to informing our mayors on how to capture the
value of these new opportunities and make their cities world
renown for the research and commercialization of renewable
energy and efficiency processes, equipment and systems. Economic transformations in our society have
always bred winners and losers. It’s an inescapable fact
that when Henry Ford began to mass produce automobiles, the
blacksmiths of the 19th century were replaced by the United Auto
Workers of the 20th. But the America that emerged from that
transformation was richer and fairer because of the courage of
government to manage it properly. We can have the same outcome
with the transformation to a clean energy economy if
we choose to do likewise. Thank you. [The Chairman] Thank you, Mr. Foster, very
much. The Chair will now recognize himself for a
round of questions. Let me begin with you, Ms. Floyd. You say
you have a biomass company, is it, in Mississippi? [Ms. Floyd] No, it’s not a biomass company.
It’s actually something, an advanced metering company. But
I spend a lot of time in the state. [The Chairman] I see, I see. Well, let me
go back to you then Mr. Hobson. You have testified that no
mater how hard that your company works at this, you’re not going
to be able to squeeze more than 850 megawatts of renewables
out of your region which would appear to be less than
five percent that would constitute renewables. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy has looked
at this and estimates that the Southeast region can meet
its entire 15 percent renewable requirement through 2020
without having a single credit from either another utility
or from the government and that would come largely from
biomass. How do you respond to the Department of Energy’s study
on that issue? [Mr. Hobson] Mr. Chairman, we are excited
about the prospects for biomass in the region. But we
are also realistic about its limitations. I’m not sure there is a full appreciation.
I’m not familiar with the particulars of that study, but I’m
not sure that there is an appreciation for the amount of renewable
resources, biomass, that is required to fuel a power
plant or power plants capable of providing the energy resources
of the Southeast. Our studies indicate that if you take a look
at power plant locations and you draw circles around how
much of the–how much of the biomass resources are required to fuel
that plant, it’s a very small number of plants that can be
built. We have looked at biomass plants in terms
of sort of 50 megawatts, if you will, 50 megawatt plant
sizes and it is clear to us that the number of plants that can actually
be sited in the Southeast and supplied with the resources
to provide that electricity is small. [The Chairman] Could you supply to the Committee
the analysis that the Southern Company has done
that demonstrates that your region’s resources limit you to
producing so much less than what the EIA and other studies indicate
that you can and could you take the EIA study and tell
us where the Bush Administration is wrong in their analysis
of your region. [Mr. Hobson] Sure. [The Chairman] Then we can share that with
the Bush Administration as well. Mr. Foster, could you–let me come over here
for a second, Ms. Floyd, he’s pessimistic. Tell us about
wind in the Southeast. Tell us about wind in Mississippi.
Tell us about wind in other regions of the country other
than the West? [Ms. Floyd] Other than the West? [The Chairman] Yes. [Ms. Floyd] Obviously, there’s good wind resource
in the Northeast. In the South, wind is limited because
the good wind regimes are on protected properties such as
in Appalachian Mountains. I mean one thing that has not been addressed
is offshore wind and you know certainly in Europe where
they are more advanced in off-shore wind, that is very much
a possibility because in the Southeast you have very shallow
waters for quite a distance and offshore wind is very much
a possibility. [The Chairman] So if we had a national scheme
for wind development offshore, that could offer significant
potential for the Southeast? [Ms. Floyd] That could offer significant potential,
yes. [The Chairman] Do you agree with that, Mr.
Hobson? [Mr. Hobson] No, I don’t, Mr. Chairman, and
the reason is that the Southeast has a unique characteristic
to it that the rest of the country or the rest of the world
might not, and that is it sits in the pathway of major storms
that come in the form of hurricanes and wind turbines are not
able to withstand even a very small Class 3 hurricane. And so
putting resources, huge investments in the Gulf Region or even
in the South Atlantic would be a huge risk. We have done
work at Georgia Tech to look at offshore wind off the coast
of Georgia, and the wind, the availability of wind offshore is
better than on shore, but it is not good enough to offset
the additional cost required to build offshore. [The Chairman] Okay, and on the issue of Florida
being the Sunshine State, meaning that a huge percentage
of the population from Massachusetts and New York
and New Jersey have moved down there based upon that advertising?
You’re saying to us that it’s really a very cloudy state and
it’s not good for solar and that perhaps it should be renamed
the Cloudy State, not the Sunshine State? It seems to run contrary to the misimpression
that people in the colder, cloudier parts of the country
have about your state, sir. [Mr. Hobson] Mr. Chairman, I think that there
are, Governor Crist reminded us during his global climate
forum that Florida is indeed the Sunshine State. I think that
based on what I know about solar in Florida, there are probably
areas in Florida where solar would be a real option. But I
think even for Florida to think that solar is an option for
the entire state, because it is a very geographically diverse
state, I think a lot of work would have to be done to make
the leap that Florida can be the sunshine state in terms of solar
generation. [The Chairman] My time has expired. I will
now recognize the gentleman from Oregon, Mr. Blumenauer. [Mr. Blumenauer] With your permission, Mr.
Chairman, I would just like to take up where you left off and
I would like to engage Ms. Floyd, Mr. Foster in a conversation
with Mr. Hobson, because I was struck, Mr. Foster, with your
vision of this being a comprehensive approach to be able
to deal with technology, to be able to put people to work
onsite and with a variety of technologies. Ms. Floyd, you had referenced, for instance,
a photovoltaic operation that was located in Germany to take
advantage of the opportunities there. And I just, with all
due respect, Mr. Hobson, I know that you are the expert with
your company for environment and alternative energy and you
supplied us with a chart in your testimony about solar intensity
as to why solar doesn’t work in your service area. I wonder what the solar intensity map would
look like for Germany, which has four, five times the application.
I mean, Ms. Floyd, can you help Mr. Hobson with a
different alternative and Mr. Foster and then Mr. Hobson if you
would just respond, because it just seems to me we have this conversation
and I was stunned with some of the people who have taken
the material from your company, arguing against renewable
portfolio standard that it would devastate Florida and other
states and it just struck me as a little bizarre and maybe Ms.
Floyd, could you help us with an alternative for Mr. Hobson? [Ms. Floyd] Well, certainly Germany does not
have terrific solar insulation or whatever the term is for
measuring solar intensity and they have built a very large
industry, I think growing very rapidly in the last couple of
years. If you look at the solar resource map, you
know, I think the Southeast compares very much to Oregon
and Washington. I can tell you that with new technology and
in investment capital, entrepreneurs are going out and building
large scale solar in rural areas, so benefitting rural
areas, with much more efficient solar technology. Obviously
it has to be efficient, because you can’t get project financing
for plants that are not efficient. So building large
projects in areas that have the same solar intensity that most
of the Southeast has. [Mr. Blumenauer] Thank you. Mr. Foster? [Mr. Foster] Yes, thank you. Mr. Chairman,
my home State of Minnesota also has a significant forestry
and pulp and paper industry similar to the Southeast. Currently,
Minnesota is operating at least three biomass electric
generation facilities and interestingly, the creation of one of
those facilities resulted in the importation and establishment
of a new biomass pelletizing plant that draws a source of fiber,
the poplar in Northern Minnesota, a very quick growing tree. Now that those pellets supply the Virginia
and Minnesota biomass plant, that facility has expanded
and is shipping 60,000 tons of biomass pellets a year through
the Great Lakes to Spain, where there is a clear market for
biomass feedstock for electric generation. So it seems to me
that there is a clear roadmap for a RES producing exactly
the kind of market that would make widespread use of the biomass
resources of the rest of the country available for electric
power generation and that story is the case in point. [Mr. Blumenauer] Mr. Hobson, does the observations
about Germany and Minnesota, which would seem to
be at least on a par with the southeastern region, is there anything
here or is it just that it’s just so far off the charts
that that’s something that isn’t possible for your company? [Mr. Hobson] You know, I don’t want to give
the Committee the impression that the Southern Company thinks
that there are no opportunities for these renewable resources
in the southeast. Certainly, there are opportunities.
We see a lot of solar applications in the southeast, primarily
on the end use of electricity which we think is a great application. What we’re talking about here is for the generation
of electricity. I don’t have the luxury of investing
in resources that will supply me power for a small percentage
of the time and hope that that source of energy will be
available when I need it. We have an obligation to serve our
customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So we have to know
that the energy will be there when we need it. If I need solar
and it’s not available, my customers are going to suffer.
If I need wind and the wind is not blowing, my customers are
going to suffer. Renewable resources have some very real opportunities
to help us in niche situations and on the margins.
But when you’re talking about supplying electric power to
a broad base of customers, you have real demands every day
of the year. You have to have energy sources that you can rely
on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. [Mr. Blumenauer] Thank you, Mr. Hobson. Thank
you, Mr. Chairman. I just am struck that there are
other parts of the world and other parts of the country who face
exactly the same challenges in terms of predictability, reliability,
that are being able to have the vision to come to scale,
have the ingenuity, to be able to put these partnerships
in place. I hope that your Governor Crist is able to persuade
you that Florida and the southeast is capable of the
same ingenuity, the same sort of creativity, the same sort of
investment to be able to make it happen there and that’s as it is
happening in the rest of the country, and sadly in the rest
of the world ahead of us. [The Chairman] The gentleman’s time has expired.
There is one roll call on the House floor. Motion to
adjourn. The Chair intends on continuing the hearing. So if the
Members would like to go over to make the roll call, the Chair
will be here when you come back to be able to recognize you,
but I now recognize the gentleman from Kansas, I mean from Missouri,
from Kansas City, Mr. Cleaver, for his round of questions. [Mr. Cleaver] Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
There is the most potential for wind energy in the center of
the country. I was on a radio show last week and made the statement
that we didn’t have the wind potential of some of the surrounding
states, and the interviewer asked me if the people in
Nebraska were stealing our wind and the bad part was that
he was serious. We have this issue in terms of the potential
in the Great Plains and in the Northeast. Solar energy
has apparently the best potential in the Southwest. Missouri
has good wind potential, but in the northwest area of the
state just to the north of Kansas City. But not all of the state,
the southeastern states and Members have expressed
concern over the possibility of reaching a national RPS because
of the lack of potential for such energy. So only a few states in the Southeast have
adapted a state RPS. What is the potential? What are the problems
with regard to some areas having wind potential, some
not, in us passing a national RPS? Anyone? I mean, what are our
challenges? [Mr. Sloan] One of the challenges is infrastructure.
I think the debate about a Renewable Energy Standard,
a lot of times focuses on where is the energy going to be
produced instead of where is the energy going to be used. If you
look at other resources, be it coal or nuclear or oil or
gas, there’s a very limited number of states that most of those
resources are produced in, and then they are moved to areas
where they are used. And actually, there’s a great example
from Joplin, Missouri, Empire District. In your state,
it is actually one of the top users of wind energy in the country.
It is importing wind from Kansas, but it benefits its rate
payers by being able to lower the electric costs because they are
able to reduce natural gas costs. So part of it is just to sort of, not necessarily
reframe. It’s important where it is produced, but it
is almost so important the benefits of using it and that
will require infrastructure. I suspect over time it will
be very much like you see with oil and gas and coal and uranium.
It is going to be produced in the best areas predominately
and then it will require infrastructure to move to the areas
that want to use it. [Mr. Cleaver] All right, thank you. [The Chairman] The chair recognizes–does
the gentleman yield back the balance of his time? The chair recognizes the gentlelady from South
Dakota. [Ms. Sandlin] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want
to thank all of you for being here today. As I came into
the hearing I heard a number of states in my region mentioned,
but not my State of South Dakota. And I think there’s a consensus
brewing that South Dakota has one of the richest wind resources
in the country, and we do have to get down to the
vote. So I just wanted to share a comment that I think while
state RESs like Minnesota’s, Colorado’s, and I believe Montana
recently passed one, are very important as it relates to the
community-based energy development that certainly Minnesota
has benefitted and the consumers and citizens of South Dakota
could as well and I’m working with my colleagues in the State
Legislature back home to talk about the importance of that
policy change, if it’s on the horizon in South Dakota. But in
addition to the Renewable Electricity Standard that we hope
makes its may into the Conference Report for the Energy Bill
that we include in the House version, I do think that we have
to consider other changes and investments in the electricity
grid, access to the WAPA grid, when there is room on that grid,
so that we can in addition to the resources available in other
regions of the country and in the South, we can get those
wind resources, east and west, and in every direction. And so I thank you for the work that you’re
already doing for the important testimony you’ve provided
here today about what’s happening in different states and different
regions and we hope that within just a few years we can
be sharing our rich resources as well as using it locally in the
State of South Dakota. So Mr. Chairman, thank you very much and I
thank the witnesses for their testimony as well as the
benefits to rural America of this important resource and being
a solution to the nation’s energy problems. Thank you. [The Chairman] The gentlelady’s time has expired.
They’ve added two additional roll calls out on the
House Floor, so we’re going to take a 15 minute recess and
then we’ll reconvene the Committee some time between 5 past and
10 past 11.

2 Replies to “The Energy Independence Implications of the Auto Bailout Proposal (Part 1 of 2)”

  1. Let me get this right,shes saying that the sunshine state/Florida doesnt have enough sun light for solar power?

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