US energy secretary asks for help to set energy policy

Oct 26, 2001 02:00 AM

There is a strong need for attention to efficiency, conservation and renewables in a national energy policy, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said. "Energy efficiency and conservation are linchpins in our plan for long-term energy security," Abraham told a conference of the Alliance to Save Energy.
He emphasized that portions of the Bush administration's energy plan, released in May, looked at energy needs 20 years into the future, not just to short-term goals. Abraham said the United States is getting close to a "dangerous dependency" on natural gas, and reliance on foreign oil and gas leaves the country "with serious national security implications." He said conservation needs to focus more on market-based incentives rather than government mandates, and more research is needed on renewables.
"Energy sources like coal and oil once overcame an economy based on horsepower," Abraham's speech said. "So, I suspect our carbon-based economy may itself pass from the scene to be replaced, perhaps byhydrogen."

Abraham pointed out that fuel cells and hydrogen can help produce clean energy with only water as a by-product. The Bush plans calls for more research on hydrogen's use in power production.
"Our national research and development investments continue to focus primarily on sources of energy -- like solar and wind -- that are fairly mature, and not sufficiently on promising breakthroughs that could revolutionize our production and use of energy," he said.
Regarding energy efficiency, Abraham said more focus should be on the efficient production of power as well as use. The secretary also spoke to the Independent Petroleum Association of America in Houston. A DOE source said the speech was similar to an Oct. 18 address he delivered at a Hoover Institution conference on energy security.

Source: E&E Publishing
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