Climate & Energy

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Climate Change Is Real

Climate change is real and scientists globally accept that emission of carbon dioxide through human consumption of fossil fuels is its principal contributing cause. A stable climate is a critical underpinning of quality of life and sustaining that stability—while exploring leadership solutions for a less stable climate—are at the core of my energy policies.

A Sustainable Path to a Renewable Energy Future

A History of Energy Leadership

I have seen first-hand the cost of our country’s dependence on foreign countries’ carbon resources during my time in the military. Our dependence on fossil fuel promotes the destruction of our other natural resources and forces coordination and alliances with regimes and interests whose human rights records are anathema to basic human decency.

The Opportunity Before Us

TX-21 is positioned to become a global leader in renewable energy and the emerging economy that surrounds it. Central Texas technology, academic, and business leaders are investing and creating jobs in wind, hydro, solar, and hyperthermal technologies.

Maximize Our Solar Potential

Texas ranks just 9th in the country in solar production, despite being significantly larger and sunnier than higher-ranked states. We have a massive opportunity to scale up solar energy use in Texas; it is a resource that is just beginning to be tapped.

Invest in Energy Efficiency

The least expensive component of energy, even more cost-effective than renewables, is efficiency. Energy efficiency measures have proven to have among the best proportional returns on investment to reduce energy usage and expand the use of renewable energy sources. Our nation doesn’t look at the energy we don’t use the same way we look at production – that’s a big mistake. By enacting policies to reduce climate-changing emissions, energy efficiency should be thought of as the principal and most effective source by mitigating the costs of addressing climate change while providing environmental, energy, and consumer benefits.

America Needs a 21st Century Energy Grid for Wind and Solar

Investments in grid infrastructure to promote efficiency and maximize opportunities and return on wind and solar development are essential. Lessons for the country about grid modernization abound from Texas. For example, CREZ transmission lines cost $6.8 billion to build, but the cost benefits alone substantially outweigh the expense. The renewable energy they enable will save ratepayers $2 billion a year and generate in excess of $5 billion in economic development benefits for Texas — all while reducing electric sector carbon dioxide emissions by up to 16 percent. CREZ transmission lines are paying for themselves rapidly, and will deliver tens of billions of dollars of net economic and environmental benefits for decades. The success of CREZ lines in Texas should serve as a national model for what can be achieved nationwide.

Carbon Pricing & Investment

I support a gradually increasing fee on carbon dioxide emissions, along the lines proposed by the Brookings Institute. This fee should be implemented at the first point of entry of fossil fuels into the economy, i.e., the mine, well, or port. Consistently, studies have shown that a carbon tax is the most efficient and effective way to reduce carbon emissions.

Innovative Third Party Financing for Energy Efficiency

Third-party, private sector financing is increasingly being used by the U.S. military as a means of achieving improvements in energy efficiency without having to pay high initial costs for energy efficiency upgrades—a process that we should extend across departments in the federal government. Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (UESCs) allow the Department of Defense to use money saved by reduced energy usage to pay for the implementation of upgrades over time.