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Clean Energy in America: Leading Congressional, Energy and Security Leaders Expound on Growth, Benefits

Category: Investment, Renewable Energy

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WASHINGTON - May 17, 2012 (Investorideas.com Renewable Energy Newswire) U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and NRG Energy President and CEO David Crane were among the experts who spoke on a clean energy conference call hosted Thursday morning by Media Matters and Environmental Entrepreneurs.

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For your convenience, we are providing a short recap of the call, including attributed quotes, a complete audio recording, and speaker bios.

Call Summary

In advance of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 – of which Sen. Coons is a cosponsor – business leaders spoke about the benefits of continued federal support for private sector investments and the need for clear U.S. clean energy policy. Speakers included:

  • U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy, Inc.
  • Gen. Steven Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer, RELYANT and Former Chief Logistics Officer for Gen. Petraeus in Iraq
  • Judith Albert, Executive Director, Environmental Entrepreneurs

Full Audio Recording

Selected Quotes

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)

On the need for U.S. clean energy policy...

"[T]here is no question – both broadly among the American Public and in the scientific community – that there will be a clean energy future for this planet. The only unresolved question is whether American companies, American communities and American workers will be at the center of this vital change in our global energy economy, or whether they'll be left behind and watching from the outside as those changes are driven in other changes in the world."

On the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012...

"If enacted, [the CES] would send long-term signals to the market that are essential for entrepreneurs and innovators who want to support alternative energy projects. And we have to have a reliable market signal of this scale and this predictability in order to incentivize the investment in not just the development but the deployment of critical new technologies."

On master limited partnerships...

"My proposal for [master limited partnerships] is to take them and make them available to all sources of energy: clean energy and renewable fuels and sources, as well as traditional. That means taking at face value the argument the other party makes about not picking winners or losers in technology and seriously pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy. I've got some Republican Senators looking seriously at this proposal, but as of now, I don't have a Republican cosponsor. It is my hope that they mean what they say and they are willing to embrace a technology-neutral, all-of-the-above tax strategy that would be available to clean and alternative energy sources, as well as more traditional fossil fuels. But we'll see how this plays out in the week ahead."

On the pathway forward...

"The key is, in my view, to keep trying to advance good policy and good ideas. And to send to the market – to the innovators, to the entrepreneurs, to the investors in our country— the sense that once we get past this fall's election, there are folks of good will on both sides willing to work to make a clean energy future possible for American workers, American communities and the American economy. I think we owe nothing less to our country. There really is a clean energy future emerging around this country and around the world."

David Crane:

On NRG's approach...

"[W]e do not look at the clean energy space from the point of view of being, you know, tree-hugging environmentalists... who sprung out of the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest... The largest part of our business is in Texas, which is a deeply conservative state."

"While I'm a dyed-in-the wool capitalist, I will say that one thing that the free market will not solve for is national fuel diversity. And the federal clean energy standard will make sure that the electric system in the United States does not become overly dependent on one fuel, the way that the transportation system of this country is currently overly dependent on oil."

On government incentives...

"In the last few years, our real focus has been on solar power. At this point we have close to $5 billion of solar projects under construction or in operation in the United States, which I think makes us the largest solar power company. Those projects were conceived and started by us, again, in response to government inducements.

["T]he federal loan guarantee program enabled projects that were bigger than could have been done by the private sector on its own. Because a simple fact of financing these days is that Wall Street has really never recovered the financial strength it had to lend to projects since the 2008 financial crisis.... The federal loan guarantee program was very important in enabling large projects, creating a lot of jobs, particularly in the Southwest United states."

On solar power...

"Unlike every other form of technology that I see out there, the unit cost of making solar power is dropping precipitously month on month and year on year. And we're getting to the point where the average American is going to find that they can monetize an asset that they've never been able to monetize before, which is the air space over their house. And not only to reduce the cost of the power that they buy from the gird, but we're getting to the point where people will be able to sell into the grid at three o'clock in the afternoon when the grid is straining from air conditioning loads, using the solar panels on their roof. And I think that is going to change the financial dynamic of being an energy consumer in the United States."

Gen. Steven Anderson:

Gen Anderson's perspective...

"I absolutely am convinced that clean energy is good for America, predominantly because it is good for our national security."

"I might also add that I am a conservative Republican. Not that it really matters, but I do believe that this is, and should be, an across the aisle issue. I am continually dismayed by my fellow conservative Republicans and their attitude toward [clean] energy. Because it's a great opportunity for our nation and I think we're missing the boat."

On clean energy and national security...

"If you don't believe in global warming, as many do not, perhaps you believe in supply and demand. And of course as you look at the increasing demand from China and India and other places, obviously it is a finite resource with more competition – that means more tension and instability and again, that means more potential for conflict and more of a threat to our national security."

"This is a country that put a man on the moon 42 years ago, and no one has even come close since. It shows you the power of our great nation when we are appropriately focused and incentivized."

"Clean energy makes us more militarily effective....Perhaps most don't realize that over 1000 Americans have died moving fuel. DOD will spend $20 billion this year. That's $20 billion on the energy we're spending in Afghanistan... And it gets to the fact that there is a direct relationship between our military effectiveness and energy, and how we consume energy."

"We need comprehensive DOD policy to make clean energy a real policy, not just an afterthought. DOD has led the way in many things in our nation: race relations, medical technology, the development of the internet. DOD can similarly serve as a great shining example for the rest of our nation on the power of clean energy. Clean energy is good for our national security, good our military, it's good for our economy and it's good for America."

Judith Albert:

On the clean energy landscape...

"Over the past 7 months, E2 has tracked clean energy job announcements from around the country. And what have we found? There are more than 300 clean energy announcements in over 40 states. Together, these 300 projects could create more than 90,000 new, made-in-America jobs.... These jobs are all over the country. They're in democratic districts. They're in Republican districts. They're in a wide range of sectors and technologies, big companies and little companies – it's a remarkably diverse field."

Final reminders....

"We need support from reporters like you, to cut through some of the sensationalism that's come up around Solyndra and a few notable failures. So please don't forget that every failure in industry is accompanied by dozens of success stories. And don't forget who's paying for those anti-clean energy ad campaigns. And don't forget that the naysayers want us to believe that clean energy is something dirty... But it's not."

Speaker Bios

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.)

U.S. Senator Chris Coons serves on the Senate Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Energy & Natural Resources, and Budget committees. He is a co-sponsor of the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012.

For more information about the Senator Coons, visit: http://www.coons.senate.gov/

For more information about the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, visit: http://www.coons.senate.gov/newsroom/releases/release/senator-coons-cosponsors-clean-energy-standard-bill-to-boost-generation-of-cleaner-electricity-

David Crane, President and CEO NRG Energy, Inc.

David Crane is the President and CEO of NRG Energy, a Fortune 500 company and one of the nation's largest power generation and retail electricity businesses.

NRG is at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy. The company is a pioneer in developing cleaner and smarter energy choices: whether as the largest solar power developer in the country, or by building the first privately funded electric vehicle charging infrastructure or giving customers the latest smart energy solutions to better manage their energy use.

Prior to joining NRG, Crane was CEO of International Power and held positions at Lehman Brothers and ABB Energy Ventures. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

For more information, visit: http://www.nrgenergy.com/

Gen. Steven Anderson (US Army-RET), Chief Marketing Officer RELYANT LLC

Retired Brigadier General Steve Anderson is the Chief Marketing Officer of RELYANT LLC, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business based in Knoxville, Tennessee, that provides key construction, logistics, munitions response, and information services to our troops deployed overseas in the combat zone. He retired in April 2010 after a 31 year career in the Army and has extensive logistics command and staff experience both in Korea, Iraq, Germany, Hawaii and four tours in the Pentagon. General Anderson served under General David H. Petraeus as his Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics for the Multi-National Force in Iraq. He managed a budget of more than $5 billion and a team of 125 military and civilians from four coalition nations, and was responsible for all resources and sustainment planning and execution of support for 300,000 personnel deployed in the combat zone.

For more information, visit: http://www.gorelyant.com/

Judith Albert, Executive Director Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)

Judith Albert is the Executive Director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a non-partisan national community of business leaders who promote sound environmental policy to grow the economy. E2 members are entrepreneurs, investors and professionals, who collectively manage nearly $90 billion of venture capital and private equity, and have started over 1400 companies.

Ms. Albert joined E2 in 2010, after a career in financial services, most recently as a senior executive at Bear, Stearns & Co., and prior to that as an investment banker to Latin American clients at J.P.Morgan and Violy Byorum & Partners. She practiced corporate law with the firm of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, and has extensive experience in emerging markets.

Ms. Albert is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale College.

For more information, visit: http://www.e2.org

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. For more information, visit www.mediamatters.org

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national community of business leaders who promote sound environmental policy that builds economic prosperity. An affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council, E2 is the independent business voice for the environment. For more information, visit www.e2.org

More Info:

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