Save money, make money, reduce emissions: What's not to like?
By Bob Wise, Cogan Owens Cogan LLC
Bob Wise is a senior project manager at Portland-based Cogan Owens Cogan LLC.
Editor's note: This is the third post from Bob Wise in a series on the topic of import substitution. Read his first post, "Should we build Apples or should we harvest them?" and his second, "Economically, we are what we eat."
Oregon is blessed. Just not with fossil fuels.
We do, however, have the opportunity to use energy conservation and an abundance of renewable energy sources to meet future energy needs.
According to the recently released Oregon Energy Task Force’s "Oregon Energy Action Plan" we import 100 percent of the oil, coal and natural gas we burn. This means that we send away roughly 85 percent of the $14 billion we spend to places like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Texas. This represents a debilitating outflow of capital that can be better deployed for Oregon’s benefit.
We need a strategy to substitute energy savings and clean, renewable energy sources for the fossil fuels we currently import. Keeping that money here will support our future prosperity and reduce production of greenhouse gases.
This strategy is illustrated in detail in the "Climate 2030 Plan" of the Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS’s plan suggests that efficiency and clean energy sources can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050. This would result in net savings between 2010 and 2030 of $1.7 trillion while achieving the same economic growth.
The benefits of applying a similar approach in Oregon might even be greater because of the extent of our dependence on imported fossil fuels. What to do?
Strategy No. 1: Increasing efficiency is the best source of energy supply.
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