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Congressman Steve Israel.- “L I -Center for Energy Research”

May 12, 2006 @ 12:00 am EDT


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The topic this morning was about creating “new” sources of energy. Most of what was discussed is not new. Solar photovoltaic, bio diesel, geothermal systems, ethanol, are some of the items that were discussed, and none of them are new.

What may be new is the desire to implement a changed energy environment.. Congressman Steve Israel was our speaker this morning and he is sponsoring a bill in Congress that will create incentives to dramatically increase the employment of these energy technologies. Israel calls his bill “Next Generation Energy Plan.”

According to Steve Israel the efforts to create energy independence is regarded as too hard. “John Kennedy did not take that attitude when we resolved to put a man on the moon.” We in turn must not shrink from the responsibility of changing to fuels and technologies, we either, presently have, or can produce.

Israel gave an example of a government program that funds new weapons research. The program is called DARPA. It allows for the research in many questionable technologies that sometime result in a more effective weapons. Mr. Israel questions why we do not create the same kind of funding for energy independence.

Of course in energy, we already know that there are many workable technologies. Implementing new technologies and changing infrastructure are the challenges, and those challenges, are small potatoes when you compare the effort that was needed when we went to the moon, or when we created of the original atomic bomb.

Some of the items in Israel’s proposal are really quite simple. When the federal government replaces 50 thousand vehicles next year, why not insist on them being hybrids? Or “plug-in hybrids? He asked what manufacturer would not build a car for that demand market? He is proposing a $230 billion “patriotic investment” in various technologies to rid America of the yoke of foreign oil.The $230 billion must be paid for, and the congressman suggests that merely canceling the latest tax break for those earning more than $400,000 per year would pay for it.

He proposes that municipalities, schools, libraries and other public buildings receive funds to retrofit their poorly performing energy systems. He proposes that reward grants be offerred as a prize for innovative developments, and he would not exclude major corporations from receiving this money as long as we can get the desired results.(We did this many years ago to create the energy efficient refrigerators most of us have in our homes today)

Israel said, in effect buying oil from the Middle East, puts us in the position of funding both sides in the war against terror. Putting our efforts into energy independence is an important contribution to our national defense.

We need, according to the congressman, an advanced energy support system to assist in the development of cutting edge energy research and development.

There were many energy professionals in the room and there were many questions from the audience. This is definitely a topic that must be revisited and encouraged.

pictured: LIMBA President Ernie Fazio , Congressman Steve Israel and John Hritcko of Broadwater