ENERGY SUPPLY ACTIONS


The fuels used to meet U.S. energy needs vary in their greenhouse gas emissions. Among fossil fuels, natural gas emits the least amount of CO2 per unit of energy provided, and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass energy, release no net CO2. Nuclear power, which currently provides over 20 percent of electricity generated, will continue to play a key role in limiting CO2 emissions from electricity production. Newer technologies can also increase the efficiency of generating and distributing electricity. Increased efficiency lowers the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by reducing the amount of fuel required to generate and deliver electricity to customers.

The energy industry is entering an era of unprecedented change due to market and regulatory shifts. The Energy Policy Act and actions taken by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have increased competition in a variety of energy markets, increasing the efficiency of energy supply. New requirements under the Clean Air Act have prompted a shift to cleaner fuels. Federal R&D into new energy technologies, primarily through DOE, continues to help the industry meet environmental and market challenges.

The President's Climate Change Action Plan includes a number of new actions to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted from energy production and use. The Administration will increase the use of natural gas; encourage the commercial application of renewable energy resources; make more efficient use of our existing hydroelectric resources; and reduce the amount of energy lost in electricity transmission.


Natural Gas Strategy

Natural gas, an abundant domestic fuel, emits less CO2 per unit of energy provided than either oil or coal. The Administration recognizes the environmental, economic, and national security benefits of encouraging the use of natural gas.

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Renewable Energy Strategy

Renewable energy sources include solar energy, biomass energy (wood, wood waste, and energy crops), geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, and related energy sources that emit no net greenhouse gases. Through increased funding and utilization of incentives included in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to promote the use of renewable energy, the Administration is already laying the groundwork for a future that can rely on these resources. The Action Plan features new initiatives to accelerate the widespread commercial deployment of renewable energy sources.

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Electric Distribution Efficiency Strategy

In 1991, about 7.4% of U.S. electric generation was lost while being distributed from power plants to end-users. When transmission and distribution losses are reduced, less electricity is generated to meet end-use demands, which reduces CO2 emissions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is currently implementing changes in the Federal Power Act contained in the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which will help promote the efficient use of the transmission system. The Action Plan focuses on increasing the adoption of more efficient transmission and distribution equipment.

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Utility Industry Strategy

The energy demand and supply programs outlined above rely on an assumed private sector response to a collection of government initiatives. The analysis of their impact assumes that a favorable climate exists for the penetration of technology and that the programs will be supported by electric utilities. In order to ensure that these programs deliver the estimated impacts, and to enhance the prospects for early emission reductions, DOE has begun to forge commitments with electric utilities to limit greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, DOE and EPA will expand their efforts to encourage supportive state regulatory actions.

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