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CSRlive Commentary

05.09.2011 - 09:56AM

Category: Renewable & Alternative Energy

CSRwire Spotlight: Calling on America to Come Clean

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By CSRwire Contributing Writer Jayne Flannery

On the eve of the Ceres Conference 2011, Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition urges the US investment community to wake up to the opportunities inherent in CLEAN programs.

Craig Lewis laments the weak progress that has been made to date in deploying renewable energy in the US. In comparison, he draws attention to the stellar rate of expansion witnessed in some European states. "Take Spain and Portugal as examples, 50 percent of their total electricity supply is now generated from renewable sources and 30 percent of their capacity has been added over the past five years. Yet here in the US, we are still seeing penetration rates in single digit figures and our rate of adoption of these technologies is advancing at one twentieth of the pace witnessed in Portugal?"

Lewis now hopes to use the Ceres Conference as a platform to highlight to the US investment community the opportunities inherent within the Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Program model.

Independent research has validated that CLEAN Programs - also known as "feed-in tariff" (FIT) or "standard offer" programs - are the most successful clean energy mechanisms yet seen and responsible for the vast majority of renewable energy deployed in the world. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reported the policy tool was responsible for 45 percent of all wind energy and 75 percent of all solar photovoltaic capacity installed before 2008. The percentages are increasing; Navigant Consulting reported 85 percent of the wind power deployed in 2009 was driven by CLEAN-type programs.

CLEAN Programs can exist at the national, state or local level and promote the growth of a strong clean economy by reducing the time, risks, paperwork and other costs involved in selling clean energy from under-used and neglected community spaces, close to where the loads are and where the energy has the most value, because it avoids line losses and the massive costs associated with transmission.

"We implement policies and programs that result in the most cost effective generation of renewable energy in an environmentally conscious manner," Lewis explains. "At the Clean Coalition, we work at the national, state and local levels, but it is opportunities at the state and local levels that I particularly want to highlight. This is where the implementation of programs takes place quickly and is where we can engage the entire energy value chain, including the full breadth of the financial community that will be called upon to fund the transition of the United States to a clean energy future."

He is delighted that some momentum is finally gathering in the US. In April 2011, the Clean Coalition celebrated the launch of the CLEAN California Campaign, which promotes policies to meet Governor Jerry Brown's call to install 12,000 megawatts of new renewable energy projects in California communities by 2020.

Terry Tamminen, Special Advisor to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, commented at the launch. "CLEAN Programs result in new clean energy projects on the ground right now. These projects are integrated into existing buildings and disturbed lands in our communities, without delays for new transmission lines or major environmental reviews."

Lewis points to a report conducted by UC Berkeley that concludes the use of a comprehensive CLEAN Program to achieve California's 33 percent renewables by 2020 objective will deliver three times more economic benefits to the state of California than the standard approach that is focused on transmission-dependent central station renewables. "These benefits include creating three times the number of jobs from 2011-2020 and stimulating up to $50 billion in additional private investment in the state," he declares.

Lewis hopes California will inspire other states to follow. "We are creating state- and local-level CLEAN program guides as well as offering support in assessing, designing and implementing programmes. It has never been easier to adopt the CLEAN model and there is no shortage of money to fund these initiatives, which are simple and transparent. The shortfall is in policy innovation, but here in the US there is not even a need to innovate, just to copy what is happening elsewhere in the country and around the world," he concludes.

About the Clean Coalition

The Clean Coalition is a non-profit organization whose mission is to make clean local energy accessible now. The top priority is to implement policies and programs that accelerate the adoption of cost-effective clean local energy across the United States. The Clean Coalition believes that the right policies will result in a timely transition to clean energy while yielding tremendous economic benefits, including new job creation, increased tax revenue, and the establishment of an economic foundation that will drive growth for decades. www.Clean-Coalition.org

For more information about the Ceres Conference 2011, please visit the events page. For more CSRwire Ceres-exclusive Spotlights, please visit http://csrwiretalkback.tumblr.com/Ceres.

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