Environment Maine : It's time for a New Energy FutureOctober 05, 2006 - TRCAre you worried about the effects of global warming, the high price of gas and oil, and the war in the Middle East ? Are you tired of waiting for our leaders in Washington D.C. to take action to solve our energy problems ?With control of Congress up for grabs and dozens of hotly contested races all across the country, we have an incredible opportunity to move our candidates beyond vague rhetoric and toward real energy solutions. With your help, we can make energy efficiency a top issue during this election. Will you help us get 5,000 signatures on our New Energy Future petition ? To sign, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser:http://environmentmaine.org/envmaine.asp?id=1870&id4=ESBackgroundWe are asking all congressional candidates to commit to supporting policies that help the U.S. achieve four key goals:* Reduce U.S. dependence on oil by saving one-third of the oil we use today (7 million barrels per day) by 2025;* Harness clean, renewable, homegrown energy sources for at least one quarter of all energy needs by 2025;* Save energy with high performance homes, buildings and appliances so that by 2025 we use 10 percent less energy than we do today; and* Invest in a New Energy Future by tripling research and development funding for the energy-saving and renewable technologies we need to achieve these goals.According to our recent analysis, achieving these goals would have a tremendous impact on America's environment, economy, and national security.* Reduce U.S. dependence on oilAmerica has the technological know-how to dramatically reduce our dependence on oil. By building cars that go farther on a gallon of gas, giving Americans better transportation choices, and using clean, renewable fuels, we can slash our use of oil, improve our environment, safeguard our energy security and, in many cases, save money.Among the steps we can take are increasing fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, setting goals for plant-based fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, and investing in expanded and improved public transit services. Using these and other tools we can cut America's oil consumption by more than 7 million barrels a day - about one-third of America's current oil use.* Harness clean, renewable, homegrown energy sourcesAmerica has virtually limitless potential to take advantage of renewable energy to power our economy. The Great Plains has been called the "Saudi Arabia of wind" for its vast, high quality wind resource. Similarly, solar photovoltaic panels placed on just 7 percent of the area currently covered by cities and residences could generate all of America's electricity.By tapping our renewable energy potential, America can dramatically scale back its use of fossil fuels. According to our recent analysis, replacing nearly 25 percet of our energy with renewable sources by 2025 would allow us to save more than half of the natural gas per year in 2025 than is currently used in American homes, and 40 percent of all the coal America used in 2005.* Save EnergyAmerica has vast "strategic reserves" of energy efficiency. Virtually every part of the American economy has the potential to use energy more efficiently-- from the appliances in our kitchens, to the windows in our office buildings, and the motors in our factories.Cutting our use of energy by 10 percent would require reducing the amount of energy we are projected to use in 2025 by 27 percent. Recent studies suggest that we could cut our use of electricity and natural gas by more than 20 percent using energy efficiency technologies that pay back their costs over time. We could get the rest of the way to our goal by investing in tomorrow's technologies such as "zero-energy" homes that virtually eliminate the need for fossil fuels and "green" commercial buildings that slice demand for energy by 25 to 40 percent or more.* Invest in a New Energy FutureBy committing $30 billion over the next 10 years to the New Energy for America Initiative, we could triple research and development funding for the energy-saving and renewable technologies we need to achieve these goals.Spending $3 billion per year on federal clean energy research and development over the next decade would help us develop the next wave of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Projects could include developing the next wave of improvements in vehicle technology, investigating ways to store the energy created by wind and solar power, and finding the best ways to effectively use biofuels.You can help by signing our "New Energy Future" petition urging candidates to support strong, specific clean energy goals. Then forward this email to your friends and family and ask them to do the same.Click below to sign the petition, or copy and paste the link into your web browser:http://environmentmaine.org/envmaine.asp?id=1870&id4=ESSincerely,Jennifer AndersenEnvironment Maine AdvocateJenniferA@environmentmaine.orghttp://www.EnvironmentMaine.orgNOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.