Energy efficiency back on Senate floor as cost of renewable energy decreases

Senate will bring Sheehan legislation to floor.
Senate will bring Sheehan legislation to floor.

Senator Sheehan’s energy efficiency legislation, which was stalled in Congress due to a proliferation of amendments that were unrelated to energy matters, may be back on the floor as soon as May 2014. Interest in adopting more vigorous practices in energy efficiency is heating up perhaps in part as a response to the recently released IPCC report on climate change.

It’s not just politicians who are opening their eyes to the importance of energy efficiency and the possibilities of renewable energy sources. A recent poll by North Star Opinion Research of Kansans, who represent a conservative majority of Americans, shows widespread support of renewable energy resources. Seventy three percent of Republicans, 75% of Independents, and 82% of Democrats polled support the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, and two-thirds of voters would support increasing the state’s renewable energy law “even if it meant a $1-2 increase in their bill.”

Why is the movement towards renewable energy gaining so much momentum so quickly? For one thing, as of January 2013, jobs in the solar industry alone were growing ten times faster than the national average employment growth. Renewable energies are not just good for the environment, they’re good for the economy.

In addition, as more and more homes and businesses adopt solar energy, the prices of solar energy systems drops. The latest quarterly report from Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research revealed that solar panel costs in the second quarter of 2013 were down by 60% from the first quarter of 2011.

Solar installations have become more affordable in recent years.
Solar installations have become more affordable in recent years.

It’s no wonder then that politicians are more eager than ever to move now on legislation supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy. As greater numbers of Americans demand cleaner, more affordable energy, we can expect to see greater strides in Senate. These first steps towards a cleaner American energy will not only mean more environmentally sound practices but also more jobs and greater wealth for the American people.


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