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Friday, June 25, 2010

Sarah Palin’s Goal Of 50% Renewable Energy Use In Alaska Signed Into Law

By Gary P Jackson

One of the first things Barack Obama did, once he took office, was to announce a pretty ambitious goal of having the United States get 25 percent of it’s energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. To date, little if anything, has been done by the Obama regime to reach this goal.

On January 21, 2009 (Obama’s first full day at work) Sarah Palin, writing in the Wall Street Journal, praised this initiative strongly, while reminding Obama that conventional sources of energy will always be needed. She also announced that she was working on the goal of having Alaska get a full 50 percent of it’s energy from renewables in that same 2025 time frame.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Tax Cuts and Fiscal Discipline

By Sarah Palin

Especially evident in these trying economic times is America's need for affordable, abundant and secure energy. This means American energy resources developed through American ingenuity and produced by American workers. I applaud President Obama's focus on alternative and renewable energy, and here in Alaska we've joined the effort: I have asked Alaskans to focus on obtaining 50% of our electric generation from renewables by 2025. In the meantime, we must not abandon oil and gas exploration and development. In fact, Americans should demand the cooperation of the major oil producers so that Alaska's vast supply of clean natural gas can be brought to market. Alaska stands ready to positively contribute to the nation's markets and energy needs.

Another step on the path to economic recovery is to let Americans keep more of their income. Mr. Obama and Congress could make this happen with permanent tax cuts and by adhering to a path of fiscal discipline. When congressional appropriation trains run too hastily, they accumulate excess baggage, spending more taxpayer money. Leaving more money in American pockets through tax cuts and fiscal discipline stimulates the business-investment and job-creation climate -- the climate for economic recovery.

Finally, we are extremely proud of our men and women in uniform. Mr. Obama and Congress must continue to guarantee a strong national defense by modernizing and equipping our armed forces; by treating active-duty military and veterans fairly; and by supporting the families of our service members. America will face difficult challenges in the years ahead. As Mr. Obama takes the helm, our prayers are with him as he seeks direction for our great nation.

Now one must understand the rest of the story here. While Obama wanted to have the entire nation at 25 percent on renewables, Alaska was already there, and had been for some time. Many people don’t understand that while Sarah Palin’s Alaska was a leader in conventional energy production, environmentally responsible energy production, and the leader in weeding out corruption in the business and in the governmental agencies that regulate it, the state is also a leader in renewables. In other words, Alaska already gets 25 percent of it’s energy from renewable sources.With that said, shooting for the next 25 percent is big, bold, and ambitious.

Sarah understood this was a long term goal, just like AGIA, her natural gasline project, and something that would be ongoing well after she left office. Sarah left Alaska in the very capable hands of Sean Parnell, who has performed admirably as Governor, and continued on with Sarah’s policies. He has especially worked hard on energy related issues.

That brings us to this announcement, as reported by Wind Power Monthly:

US: Alaska has passed legislation calling for the state to derive 50% its electricity from renewable and alternative energy sources by 2025.

House Bill 306 reinforces a 50% renewables goal announced by former governor Sarah Palin. Notably however, the goal is not binding on utilities.

The bill calls for Alaska to encourage economic development by promoting the development of alternative energy sources, including geothermal, wind, solar, hydroelectric, hydrokinetic, tidal and biomass.

Paradoxically, the bill also calls for the development of non-renewable resources including coal, oil and natural gas. It says the state should "remain a leader in petroleum and natural gas production".

The bill says the state should review and streamline energy regulation, but does not offer details on how this would be accomplished.

Governor Sean Parnell said: "The policy encourages coordination of government functions and streamlines regulatory processes across all levels of government."

Parnell has also signed into law SB 220, which calls on the governor to submit a report to legislature recommending how best to increase coordination and efficiency between energy-related agencies.

The report is due by January 31, 2011. Alaska has 7.8MW of wind installed, placing it 32nd among the 37 US states with wind capacity.

Its largest and most recent wind farm is the 4.5 MW Kodiak Island wind project, which came online last year.

I love how this report says " paradoxically" talking about conventional energy sources. This reporter doesn’t realize that while Sarah Palin may have set this incredibly ambitious goal, and Governor Parnell and the Alaska legislature is doing it’s absolute best to achieve this for her, and the state, the rest of the country, sorely lacking leadership, is nowhere near meeting a far less ambitious plan.

We aren’t going to be getting away from a petroleum based economy anytime soon. As we reported here, quoting a study from 2008:

...... untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.

That’s three centuries worth of oil. Longer than The United States has been a nation!

This also doesn’t take into account the estimated billions of trillions of cubic feet of clean burning natural gas that also sits in the ground waiting to be used. We’ve long said if the environmentalists were serious, instead of chasing electric cars, hydrogen, or other money pits, they’d be working on converting the fleet to clean burning compressed natural gas for fuel.With the technology that currently exists, it’s a no brainer.

The Big Three automakers: Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors already offer CNG powered vehicles. Better yet, they offer dual fuel vehicles that can run on either gasoline, or CNG, so availability of either fuel is never an issue.

So, as shocked as the above reporter may be, tapping these incredibly abundant resources is not only smart, but essential. Can you imagine how the world, and America, would look if we weren’t sending somewhere between $700 billion and $1 trillion a year out of the country to buy crude oil?

Job creation alone would be staggering. The national security implications incredible. Much of those nearly $1 trillion spent annually go to nations that actively work against our interests. Many openly hate the United States, but take our money, and then use it to fight against us.

With that said, Sarah Palin’s goal of making Alaska energy independent just moved forward in a big way. If she can do this in Alaska, just think what her leadership, and inspiration, from the Oval Office could produce.