It is imperative for the national security and prosperity of our country that we enact a practical, sustainable energy policy. For many years I have called for a more forward-looking approach that would embrace higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles; increased research, development, and deployment of renewable energy technology; and a more diverse energy supply that utilizes all of our nation's assets and ingenuity.
American Clean Energy and Security Act
In 2009, the House of Representatives took a historic step toward achieving these goals by passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act. By supporting this historic bill, I made a commitment free our country from its dependence on foreign oil and to unleash the innovative and creative potential of the American people. There is no reason we cannot remake our energy infrastructure and become the world's leading producer of renewable clean energy. The technology and resources are available today, right here in this country. This bill provides sustained investment in these new and developing industries to ensure that the energy innovation of the future happens here instead of abroad.
Let me be clear: this is not a perfect bill. But because of its great potential I thought it was important to move the legislation forward. With my help, the final bill included provisions to lessen the impact on rural electric cooperatives, small businesses, and family farms. In fact, these additions resulted in the National Rural Electric Cooperatives withdrawing their opposition to the bill. All of the incentives for energy efficient improvements, combined with provisions to protect ratepayers, will actually save consumers money in the long run.
One thing is clear -- with countries like China producing more renewable energy than we are, we cannot continue on our current course. The American Clean Energy and Security Act represents the forward-thinking energy policy that will utilize all of the ingenuity and creativity this country has to offer.
Western Wisconsin Leading the Way
I have taken several energy tours through western Wisconsin during which I visited businesses that are on the cutting edge of renewable energy production. I have visited Water Source Heating and Cooling, Inc in Eau Claire. Water Source Heating and Cooling produces geothermal energy to heat homes and businesses throughout the area. I have also toured and visited Energy Concepts, Inc. of Hudson, which uses a combination of professional engineering and renewable energy technologies to find sustainable energy solutions. They have completed a number of projects to date and have brought renewable energy technologies like solar to schools, homes, and businesses in the area.
These are just a few examples of companies taking the lead in the emerging renewable energy industry. They are providing western Wisconsin residents with good, high-paying jobs that cannot be exported and providing a blueprint for the rest of the country to follow. These companies and others producing renewable energy as well as many large manufacturers will see benefits under the American Clean Energy and Security Act.