3. Energy. Many policymakers and scientists say energy security and sustainability are major problems facing the United States this century. What policies would you support to meet demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?
America’s challenges in providing secure, affordable energy while addressing climate change mean that we must make much more efficient use of energy and begin to rely on new energy sources that eliminate or greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. My programs focus both on a greatly expanded program of federally funded energy research and development and on policies designed to speed the adoption of innovative energy technologies and stimulate private innovation.
First, I have proposed programs that, taken together, will increase federal investment in the clean energy research, development, and deployment to $150 billion over ten years. This research will cover:
• Basic research to develop alternative fuels and chemicals;
• Equipment and designs that can greatly reduce energy use in residential and commercial buildings – both new and existing;
• New vehicle technologies capable of significantly reducing our oil consumption;
• Advanced energy storage and transmission that would greatly help the economics of new electric-generating technologies and plug-in hybrids;
• Technologies for capturing and sequestering greenhouse gases produced by coal plants; and
• A new generation of nuclear electric technologies that address cost, safety, waste disposal, and proliferation risks.
I will also work closely with utilities to introduce a digital smart grid that can optimize the overall efficiency of the nation’s electric utility system, by managing demand and making effective use of renewable energy and energy storage.
Second, it is essential that we create a strong, predictable market for energy innovations with concrete goals that speed introduction of innovative products and provide a strong incentive for private R&D investment in energy technologies. These concrete goals include:
• Increasing new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade, and taking other steps that will reduce the energy intensity of our economy 50 percent by 2030;
• Increasing fuel economy standards 4 percent per year and providing loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers to build new fuel- efficient cars domestically;
• Extending the Production Tax Credit for five years and creating a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard that will require that 10 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025; and
• Ensuring that regulations and incentives in all federal agencies support the national energy and environmental goals in ways that encourage innovation and ingenuity.
I will also encourage communities around the nation to design and build sustainable communities that cut energy use with walkable community designs and expanded investment in mass transit.