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United States : King Presses for Cleaner, Cheaper Energy Alternatives for Maine in Committee.

In a Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) questioned witnesses on ways to reduce installation costs and improve Maine peoples access to cleaner and cheaper energy. Todays ENR hearing focused on geothermal energy, which is a form of clean, sustainable power that is generated from hot water and rock beneath the earths surface and accessed by wells or heat pumps.

I do want to focus on geothermal resources in the non-western states where the temperature may only be 45 degrees, but we have a well-developing geothermal heat pump market in New England, said Senator King. But the issue is installation costs: $40,000 for a 2,000 square-foot home. How do we drive those costs down? And youve talked about drilling technologies, because youve got to drill deep wellswhat are the answers that will improve the ability of these more localized in areas a lot of parts of the country dont have 180 degree water under the surfacethe economics in Maine are quite good, geothermal energy works out to about 85 cents a gallon of oil, a comparable heating value. And that oil is now about $2.75, so that economics is good. But still, the upfront cost is a significant barrier, and there are tax benefits and incentives but I think thats something we really need to think about.

A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions, Senator King is the lead sponsor on clean and efficient energy bills such as the Next Generation Grid Resources and Infrastructure Development (GRID) Act to encourage energy independence, foster innovation, and leverage federal resources to support a more resilient and modern electric grid. Last week, Senator King joined three of his Senate colleagues to reintroduce legislation to increase domestic production of low-carbon, renewable energy from the natural power in ocean waves, tides and currents. Earlier that week, he cosponsored legislation to urge the administration to meet climate standards set by the Paris Climate Accord.

Last month in an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Senator King highlighted the grave dangers posed by rapidly rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, and emphasized the importance of global collaboration in order to fully and effectively respond to the threats of climate change. In April, he published a column on Earth Day laying out the ambitious and attainable steps America must take to respond to the challenges of climate change. In February, Senator King questioned experts on opportunities to address the threat of climate change through clean energy alternatives and technology innovations.

Witnesses at todays hearing included Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Timothy R. Spisak, State Director, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico, U.S. Department of the Interior; Katherine R. Young. Geothermal Program Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Tim Latimer, CEO of Fervo Energy; Paul A. Thomsen, Vice President, Business Development Americas, Ormat Technologies, Inc.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:1U1ME
Date:Jun 27, 2019
Words:499
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