Energize America: From Vegas to Chicago …

Energize America, the people-powered plan for a sustainable energy future, has evolved.  Evolved from unknown bloggers sharing concerns about mounting energy problems, to a blogger community developing a holistic approach, to the blogosphere working with Congress to develop specific legislative approaches to help deal with the nation’s challenges.

At  YearlyKos 2007, the EA2020 team reviewed the process, discussed achievements to date, and lay a path into the future.

This is the second portion of the presentation. Part 1, From Nowhere to Vegas, covered the beginning of the effort. This diary covers DooLittle SoThere‘s presentation:

From Vegas to Chicago

A brief introduction
Not sure where to start, but let me say that there are people whose user names perfectly describe them.  “Doo Little, So There” simply doesn’t account for George Karayannis’ serious dedication to seeking a path for a better future for all. Whether it is in his efforts to renovate a theater to an energy efficiency beyond any theater in the nation or his passion for focusing Energize America, the right user name would could be ” You say I Doo Little, look at what I did/do, So There”.  And, he would say that with a strong passion.  The material below is an edited version of the presentation by the man who could be called “Do So Much …”

From Vegas to Chicago by DooLittle SoThere
Oil Companies testifyInformed citizens know a simple truth: industry-driven policy is damaging. It is bad for the economy, national security, environment, and it is corrosive to the democratic process.  

Too many citizens don’t pay close enough attention. I didn’t in 2000 when I ambivalently voted for the wrong candidate.  Two weeks later Cheney’s “Energy Task Force” began with the announcement deliberations and composition would be kept secret.  I knew immediately that was bad news for energy policy and a very bad sign for the country.  Virtually every week or month has brought news of how awful this so-called policy was:

  • rolling blackouts & skyrocketing electricity prices – just market manipulation.
  • Enron’s devastating collapse  
  • Sept. 11th, not only brought terrible pain and suffering, but also a unique opportunity to rally the nation to work together to achieve energy independence
  • Oil and gas executives ‘testified’, I mean ‘appeared’ before Congress in May 20, but not under oath?
  • Record profits for energy companies & record prices for consumers
  • Global warming denial and manipulation of scientific reports…the abuses go on and on

So my work on EA was an opportunity to atone for my uninformed vote in 2000, and to help make the future brighter for my children.

To Vegas we went YK 2006 with Richardson
So what did we unveil in Vegas? A thoughtfully integrated solution with a holistic perspective. In other words, the antithesis of the Bush/Cheney energy plan.  EA is a comprehensive, unique and viable people-powered plan for US energy independence.  Broadly speaking, the 20 acts covered three areas: transportation, power generation and efficiency & conservation.  

And the 20th act included a funding process to pay for the first 19 so that we weren’t passing on even more debt to future generations.  

Energize America is a plan to achieve energy security by 2020. Energy security defined as the ability to withstand a year-long interruption of any single energy source, and to put the US on a realizable path to achieve energy independence by 2040.  The process, as Jerome-a-Paris described (covered in From Nowhere to Vegas and Energize America: two years on.), was, and is, transparent and objective. Every version and comment is still available for public review.

 Bold GoalsBy 2020, implementing Energize America would cut oil imports and GHG emissions by 50%, would increase renewables to 25%, and would generate or save some 3M jobs.  We debated these targets extensively, and in the end decided on what we thought were attainable stretch goals: which could only be achieved through strong federal leadership and broad public commitment.  Ambitious goals such as these are possible, just ask the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell:

More than half the energy we generate every day is wasted.

What’s the point of producing even more energy if we continue to waste most of it? Instead, we should aim to become twice as efficient in our use of energy by the middle of the next century. That is entirely feasible, provided that the will is there.

Our objectives are “entirely feasible, provided that the will is there.”

 Strategic Objectives

EA is a unique plan created from an innovative process.  But it’s just one plan among tens, hundreds or even thousands that have competing ideas and well-funded special interest. We believe that any serious US energy policy MUST address the six strategic objectives that drove EA:

  1. Maximize transportation system efficiency as transportation consumes two-thirds of our oil use, leaving our transportation infrastructure is completely dependent upon oil.  We need to move to Win the Oil Endgame.
  1. Optimize use of existing resources with pilot projects related to coal liquefaction and carbon sequestration, transparency of full costs for all energy sources (coal, nuclear, renewables), with a moratorium on mountaintop removal which is essentially raping parts of our country with little understanding of the consequences outside relatively remote areas.
  1. Expand renewable energy with a clear, long-term federal strategy, to enable private investment and foster industry innovation. EA2020 included acts on wind and solar power.
  1. Informed customers make smarter choices and EA2020 has structural and economic incentives to help make the right choice the easy choice.
  1. The country should reward conservation and energy efficiency. No, this is not  “old people freezing to death in the dark.”  EA aims to build federal, state and local incentives to make conservation ‘cool’, and energy efficiency awareness both a moral imperative and valuable job skill.  
  1. EA seeks to create an Energy Smart culture driven by a desire among individuals and communities to achieve energy self-sufficiency to reduce their risks from power interruption, to reduce their energy costs, to improve the value of their properties, and to improve their quality of life.  

 sleeping dog

So, what happened after Vegas?  

We were simply exhausted.

We were …

Yet the flames were not extinguished … a renewable pilot light was kept on.

Marcy Kaptur So out of the blue in early January we get an email from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) indicating interest in discussing Energize America.  

Marcy Kaptur is a 13-term Congressional member and the senior female in the House.  Marcy is also a dedicated public servant, both passionate and highly informed on energy technologies and policies.

From Marcy’s first diary (Energize America Goes to Congress ):

I am pleased to partner with the Energize America team to define a sustainable energy future for America.  My staff and I became acquainted with the EA team in January due to our shared commitment to energy independence.

Not only did Energize America Goes to Congress make the recommended list, but it remains recommended as an excellent example of how legislators can use this forum for a robust dialogue.  

Well, be careful what you ask for, because now with a Congressional sponsor we had to kick it into high gear again; with an all volunteer effort, with late, late nights and more family time sacrificed.   We identified team leads and began drafting in late January, using the exact same open and transparent process that drove EA to a 20-point plan the year before.

 Another high mark I am honored to say that of the Daily Kos’ many fine accomplishments, we set another high mark  as, on March 14th, the EA team submitted four proposals to Congresswoman Kaptur.  Four real legislative concepts developed at the request of a member of Congress.

The “team” who contributed is hard to number, as so many have helped us get as far as we have.  Every single comment, every recommend, every diary, everything you have done and can do to support Energize America is greatly appreciated and sorely needed.  We have barely begun to make America Energy Smart.  The job, however, has just begun.  And, the door remains open to assist in helping move the concept of people-powered legislative development … the door remains open, visit EA2020 and walk in …

Ask yourself:  Are you doing
your part to

ENERGIZE AMERICA?
Are you ready
  to do your part?

Your voice can
… and will make a difference.

So … SPEAK UP … NOW!!!

THE COMING DAYS

In the coming days, an additional diary will document the Energize America presentation at Yearly Kos 2007:  EA2020:  From Vegas to Chicago.

Cross-posted from Energize America.

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