Monday, February 25, 2013

A CEO Vision For America's Energy Future

Feb 25: The Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, released a report entitled, Taking Action on Energy: A CEO Vision for America's Energy Future, a detailed, comprehensive national energy strategy to capitalize on U.S. strengths and accelerate economic growth and job creation. David Cote, Chairman and CEO of Honeywell International, Inc., and Chair of BRT's Energy and Environment Committee said, "America's energy economy is firing on all cylinders -- efficiency, renewable power, oil and gas production, and advanced coal and nuclear power technology. North American energy self-sufficiency is within reach, but the missing piece is an effective strategy to capitalize on U.S. advantages.Taking Action on Energy is that strategy."

    In Taking Action on Energy, CEOs, who lead major U.S. companies that operate in every sector of the economy -- and represent energy producers, consumers and technology suppliers -- offer a vision for America's energy future that is more affordable, more secure and more sustainable. John Watson, Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation said, "Driven by private sector innovation and investment, the United States is poised to regain its status as an energy superpower. The dramatic rise in U.S. oil and natural gas production is creating jobs and economic growth across America, but our ability to take full advantage of the historic opportunity in front of us depends upon the right policy framework."

    Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company said, "Reliable, affordable energy makes the United States the location of choice for manufacturing. We have outlined a strategy to ensure America stays on top." Nicholas Akins, President and CEO of American Electric Power said, "America's electric power infrastructure has long delivered value to consumers and enhanced industrial competitiveness. To preserve that value, sound energy strategy must maintain fuel diversity for power generation, support investment in our nation's transmission system, provide a long-term solution for storing spent nuclear fuel and consider the economic consequences of energy and environmental regulation."

    In Taking Action on Energy, BRT CEOs call on Congress and the Administration to adopt policies that will enhance U.S. self-sufficiency, boost economic growth and promote environmental stewardship. The plan includes detailed and specific recommendations in each of four areas -- energy efficiency; traditional energy production; renewable energy production; and electric power generation, transmission and distribution -- including measures to:

  • Foster innovation by sustaining public investments in a diverse portfolio of pre-commercial research and development (R&D) activities, including:
    • R&D on cost-effective technologies that have the potential to improve energy efficiency while diversifying energy sources;
    • Projects to demonstrate the commercial viability of carbon capture, utilization and storage, provided that such funding is offered for a finite timeframe and limited in scope; and
    • R&D and demonstration projects for pre-commercial renewable electricity generation and transportation fuels, with an emphasis on performance, emissions reductions and technology neutrality.
  • Drive increased energy efficiency by:
    • Ensuring that state legislatures and public utility commissions consider policies that promote investment in cost-effective energy efficiency measures, and ensure that such investments are as profitable for utilities as generation and distribution assets;
    • Expanding the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Services Contracts (UESCs) in the federal government, as well as training and education for federal energy managers, policymakers and procurement/legal staff regarding the use and benefits of these contracts; and
    • Encouraging energy efficiency measures at the state level based on effective federal policy guidelines that can be cost-effectively implemented; and giving states the flexibility to account for local differences in regulatory approaches. 
  • Improve access to promising energy resources by:
    • Increasing access to onshore and offshore federal lands to ensure reliable supplies of coal, oil and natural gas;
    • Streamlining the permitting and approval processes to expedite critical infrastructure projects;
    • Respecting the role that states have traditionally played in regulating oil and natural gas activity on non-federal lands, and ensuring that new regulations for federal lands are developed in consultation with states and are consistent with state regulations; and
    • Ensuring that EPA regulations are based on sound science, undergo thorough net cost-benefit analysis, and take into consideration the net cumulative impact these regulations have on energy costs, economic growth and job creation, while being protective of human health and the environment.
  • Reform incentives for renewable power technology deployment by:
    • Providing wind-powered electricity generation with a smooth transition to an era of unsubsidized competitiveness by extending the wind production tax credit so that the benefit is gradually reduced and ultimately eliminated;
    • Ensuring that decisions regarding tax incentives for renewable resources are designed to address well-documented market inefficiencies, applied only to those fuels and technologies with a credible path to unsubsidized competitiveness and finite in duration and eventually phased out in a predictable fashion;
    • Accounting for regional variations in renewable energy resource availability when developing legislation and regulation; and
    • With respect to the renewable fuel standard, policymakers should consider the limitations of the current vehicle fleet, fuel distribution infrastructure and actual production capacity, and adopt targeted modifications as needed.
  • Encourage accelerated modernization of the electric power sector by:
    • Carefully evaluating the timing and cumulative impact of EPA regulations on the electric utility industry and, as appropriate, modifying these regulations to ensure continued reliability, avoid unreasonable rate impacts, and maintain a diverse, market-driven portfolio of baseload electricity generation fuel options;
    • Devising a long-term solution to remove and manage nuclear spent fuel;
    • Providing transparent rate incentives for cost-effective upgrades to the nation's transmission infrastructure in order to facilitate grid modernization and support competitive wholesale electricity markets;
    • Improving coordination among federal agencies, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), state commissions and other stakeholders, to address the complexity, unpredictability and inefficiency of transmission planning, siting and cost allocation decisions for interstate projects;
    • Supporting DOE and National Institute of Standards and Technology efforts to accelerate and coordinate the development of "smart grid" standards; and
    • Requiring actionable and timely cybersecurity threat intelligence sharing from government to critical infrastructure owners and operators.   

    The BRT is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with over $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 14 million employees. Our companies generate an estimated $420 billion in sales for small and medium-sized businesses annually. BRT members comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market and invest more than $150 billion annually in research and development -- nearly half of all private U.S. R&D spending. BRT companies pay $163 billion in dividends to shareholders and give nearly $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.

    Access a release from BRT with links to summaries of the complete report and each sector recommendations (click here). Access the complete 76-page report (click here). [#Energy]
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