RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
America must continue to lead the world in energy innovation to continue supporting and growing clean energy jobs. We not only want to assure that small businesses can enter the clean energy space, but more importantly, re-position the U.S. as the global leader in clean energy technologies. We are at an inflection point and with the right commonsense policies and spending, the U.S can gain a global competitive advantage. This can be done through advanced research and development of high-potential, high-impact energy technologies.
The cheapest kilowatt of energy is the one you never use. Energy efficiency focuses on reducing the amount of energy needed to provide the same products and services. Energy efficiency is critical to ensuring a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system for the future. It is often the quickest and least costly way of addressing energy security, environmental and economic challenges. Energy efficiency investments also typically have quick and higher returns on invested capital.
Energy, water, and transportation infrastructure are central to our economy; our way of life; and, our standard of living. However, much of our nation’s infrastructure is aged, outdated, and in need of massive re-investment. This creates a huge opportunity for investing in smarter energy grids, adding micro- and macro-hydro power to our water management and drinking water distribution systems, and implementing the next generation of efficient transportation systems. These infrastructure investments will reshape the energy landscape and done right could reduce energy inefficiencies and generate energy in places we’ve overlooked in the past. Additionally, infrastructure is labor intensive and is a platform for continued and accelerated job growth.
CLEAN ENERGY GENERATION AND STORAGE
Clean energy starts with renewable energy — such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal resources — but also includes nuclear, natural gas, and carbon capture technologies. We believe in a free-market, all of the above approach to energy with the goal of implementing the cleanest, lowest-emitting technologies available.
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Industrial greenhouse gas emissions must be a key focus of targeted climate change solutions because the success the U.S. has achieved in reducing electricity generation greenhouse gas emissions has been largely offset by increases in industrial emissions. Effective industrial emissions policy will help the private sector take voluntary steps to reduce emissions and facilitate the differentiation of the marketplace for carbon-intensive goods.
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The transportation sector is now the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Having overtaken the electric power sector as the leading source of emissions, commonsense climate change solutions must address transportation emissions too. While electric vehicles show promise for electrifying and reducing emissions for passenger and light-duty vehicles, fewer options are available for marine and air transportation. We support technical innovation and aggressive, but achievable emissions reductions goals for the entire transportation sector.
Government’s best role is stimulating – not overregulating – the private sector. While there is a role for government in the regulation of established business and markets, we need to ensure that regulations don’t unnecessarily impede entrepreneurs and small businesses that are foundational to our economy. Individuals and businesses must be able to make the best decisions for themselves based on reasonably accessible information and under reasonable timelines. Regulations should be modernized, and environmental reviews accelerated, so that clean energy infrastructure can be built in a timely, efficient and more affordable manner.
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Both the federal and state governments play an important role in climate and energy policy. States are vital incubators of policy innovation and present opportunities to test novel approaches to increase investment in clean energy and drive down emissions. While some of these policies can be applied at the federal level, in many cases state and local policy will drive the most locally appropriate solutions. The key is to have these policies work in coordination and not have federal policies preempt sound state and local clean energy policies.
CRES Forum works closely with the Conservative Energy Network on state issues.
REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Climate policy must reduce clean energy costs for Americans and U.S. business and increase all possible technological options available to avoid, reduce, capture and sequester greenhouse gases. As a result, locally appropriate solutions can be implemented quickly not just in the U.S., but globally.
Emissions reductions are needed now, therefore CRES Forum is focused on policy that builds off historically successful approaches and includes an all of the above approach to clean energy — the principal reason the U.S. has been able to reduce carbon emissions more than any other country.
Taxes and tax incentives need to be fair to all clean energy technologies. Additionally, when it comes to capital investment, businesses are more likely to invest when there is certainty in the tax code over long enough planning horizons for them to make these critical decisions. This is particularly important when providing incentives for clean energy generation, as well as new nascent technology including energy storage or offshore wind, for example. When it comes to policy design and implementation, we need to ensure parity for “all of the above” clean energy solutions along with innovative technology.