In a speech to the National Press Club, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) called for a targeted reduction in oil consumption equivalent to 50% of imported oil by 2025—roughly equivalent to 8 million barrels per day.
Achieving that goal is feasible, she argued, based on increased use of biofuels, greater vehicle efficiency, increased use of renewables for power generation, and judicious use of clean coal, among others.
We can’t just point fingers and, sort of, place blame on anyone else: foreigners over there, oil companies over here. The ball is in our court. It is up to us to act and to act soon. It is going to require a virtual revolution in our thinking about energy and in the actions that must follow.
...we need to resist the idea that kicking the oil habit will wreck our economy. In fact, the greater risk is that we will wreck our economy by failing to kick the habit. Second, we need to discard the myth that conservation can’t play a large role in our transformation. The easiest way to reduce our dependence on oil immediately is to use less.
Now, I believe a 50 by ’25 initiative will energize our economy, not undermine it. And how will we get there? Two words: innovation and efficiency.
Clinton outlined three primary approaches:
Converting the liquid fuel base from oil to biomass, reducing consumption of petroleum by up to 4 million barrels per day by 2025.
Switch from high-carbon electricity sources to low-carbon electricity sources through innovations in renewables such as solar and wind, as well as carbon dioxide sequestration.
Increasing efficiency in cars, buildings, power plants and manufacturing processes for a reduction of another 4 million barrels a day. “The surest way to reduce oil consumption is through hybrid technology that increases fuel-efficiency by 30% to 40%.”
To support the efforts, Clinton is introducing legislation for a $50-billion “Strategic Energy Fund”, the money for which would come from a combination of a windfall profit levy on oil companies and a repealing of their tax breaks. Oil companies that invested on their own in renewable energy would be exempt from paying into the fund.
So I support comprehensive legislation that would overhaul our energy taxes; signal the market we’re in this for the long run by extending for 10 years the production tax credit [for renewables]; spur demand by doubling consumer tax breaks for hybrids, clean diesel and other advanced vehicles; and create a new tax incentive for fleet owners to purchase more efficient vehicles; speed the development of cellulosic ethanol by providing loan guarantees for the first billion gallons of commercial production capacity; ramp up the availability of ethanol by providing gas station owners with a 50 percent tax credit for the cost of installing ethanol pumps; and then extend and increase tax incentives for homeowners and businesses who will make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient—there's a lot of good information out there abut how to do it, but unfortunately not much incentive to do it.
She proposed that over the next five years, $9 billion from the strategic energy fund flow to an advanced research project agency for energy (ARPA-E). (Earlier post.) She also proposed applying $1 billion from the strategic energy fund into research on cellulosic ethanol.
...we have to deal with coal, because we have huge resources of coal. Coal is to us what oil is to Saudi Arabia. And part of our domestic strategy must involve coal.
Clinton proposed two steps to “scale up the potential of clean coal:”
Undertake five large-scale tests of geologic carbon sequestration in a variety of settings to really investigate the viability of this technology.
Provide tax credits for carbon sequestration to encourage domestic oil production.