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Baseload Industry Leaders Urge Secretary Kerry to Promote All Renewables in Upcoming Climate Talks

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November 2, 2015
Hydropower, biomass power and geothermal important contributors to meeting future climate goals Leaders of the U.S. biomass, geothermal and hydropower industries today urged Secretary of State John Kerry to support a “pan-renewable technologies approach at COP-21.” In the letter, the National Hydropower Association, Biomass Power Association and Geothermal Energy Association noted that these three technologies provide 86% of the world’s renewable power today and are expected to grow in the coming decades.

“As baseload renewable power technologies, our industries are particularly critical to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and we encourage Secretary Kerry to recognize the contributions our industries are making to fight climate change,” said Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director, National Hydropower Association.

The groups stressed their current contributions:
  • Hydropower was the leading renewable power technology in each of the top five renewable electricity producing countries: China, U.S., Brazil, Canada and Russia.
  • Biomass provides a significant percentage of renewable power around the world, and was the leading renewable electricity source in Germany in 2014, providing 10% of the country’s electricity.
  • Geothermal provides power in 24 countries, including 51% of in-country power supply in Kenya, where these additions are credited with reducing consumer bills by over 30%.

“We are asking for a U.S. approach that recognizes hydropower, biomass power and geothermal power are also important contributors to avoiding fossil fuel emissions today and will be important contributors to meeting future climate goals,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association.

“Biomass power is recognized the world over for its many environmental and economic benefits,” said Bob Cleaves, President, Biomass Power Association. “As a baseload power source, it's an essential part of any renewable energy mix that uses low-value materials that often have no other use. Biomass will play an important role in reducing the use of fossil fuels.”

Policies must also address grid modernization, the groups stressed. “. . .[P]ower grids will continue to be a vital means for electricity delivery. Therefore, enhancing the grid and grid-connected technologies is important,” according to the letter.

The letter follows:

Dear Secretary Kerry,

As the Administration approaches COP-21, we hope it will publicly recognize the important contributions being made by all renewable power technologies towards a cleaner, healthier environment. Recently, the White House has spoken about its climate initiatives with an emphasis on off-grid applications and wind and solar technologies. Hydropower, biomass power and geothermal power are also important contributors to avoiding fossil fuel emissions today and will be important contributors to meeting future climate goals. In 2012, for example, these three technologies provided a combined 86% of the world’s renewable power. A substantial majority of the nations of the world are using hydropower, biomass or geothermal to provide clean power today and even more are looking to expand the use of these technologies in the future. For example, we would note:
  • Hydropower was the leading renewable power technology in each of the top five renewable electricity producing countries: China, U.S., Brazil, Canada and Russia.  Biomass provides a significant percentage of renewable power around the world, and was the leading renewable electricity source in Germany in 2014, providing 10% of the country’s electricity.
  • Geothermal provides power in 24 countries, including 51% of in-country power supply in Kenya, where these additions are credited with reducing consumer bills by over 30%.
  • The IEA projects continued growth in hydropower, biomass and geothermal in the decades ahead, and in every scenario published in their World Energy Outlook these technologies continue to provide most of the renewable power worldwide.
We also urge the Administration to recognize that power grids will continue to be a vital means for electricity delivery. Therefore, enhancing the grid and grid-connected technologies is important today and will continue to be important in the future. Even in areas with distributed generation, the grid will continue to provide much needed power supplies and reliability.

We urge the Administration to support a pan-renewable technologies approach at COP-21. We believe this approach will best achieve global and national climate goals in the most expedited and cost-effective fashion. In California, a leader in new technologies, studies have shown that as renewable generation percentages increase both system reliability and supply diversity become important factors to consider. Hydropower, biomass and geothermal are important contributors to both.

Our organizations stand ready to assist you in any way we can to help you prepare for COP-21. Thank you for your support of renewable energy.

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About the National Hydropower Association:
The National Hydropower Association is a nonprofit national association dedicated to promoting the growth of clean, affordable hydropower. NHA represents more than 220 companies in the North American hydropower industry, from Fortune 500 corporations to family-owned small businesses. Our members include both public and investor-owned utilities, independent power producers, developers, equipment manufacturers, environmental and engineering consultants, and other service providers. About the Biomass Power Association: Biomass power is a $1 billion industry with 80 facilities in 20 states and provides over 15,500 jobs nationwide. Power plants are predominantly located in rural communities, creating thousands of jobs and producing millions in revenue for small towns. Biomass power is a clean and abundant source of electricity that will allow states to pursue even more aggressive goals for increasing their use of renewable energy in the future.

About the Geothermal Energy Association:
The Geothermal Energy Association is a trade association comprised of U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and directheat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects. For more information, please visit www.geo-energy.org. Subscribe to GEA’s news letter here. Follow GEA on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.
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