Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clinton: US should demonstrate energy solutions

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By OSKAR GARCIA Associated Press Writer

The United States can capture the world's imagination by creating an energy independent state, territory or nation, former President Bill Clinton told an energy summit.

"We have got to convince people this can be done and it would be good economics," Clinton told the politicians and energy experts meeting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"There should be one state to prove you could do it - and it should be you," Clinton said Monday. "I promise if you do, it would rock the world."

Clinton said Puerto Rico would be a prime candidate for energy independence because it imports most of its power at a high cost to the people. Clinton also suggested several nations, including Rwanda, Papa New Guinea or one of the Caribbean nations - places that have low power demand and are sunny and windy.

The group plans to develop recommendations Tuesday and bring them to the Democratic and Republican parties.

"I say, 'Let's bring it on,'" said Jim Owen, spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, the private utility industry's trade association. "Let's see what proposals come out of it."

Owen called Clinton's agenda "ambitious" but said it included suggestions that the nation's utilities would support, such as expanded research for carbon dioxide storage and accelerating a shift toward plug-in hybrid electric cars.

Clinton also called for an overhaul of the nation's electricity grid - a complex undertaking he said could cost as much as a trillion dollars. Clinton said too much energy is going to waste in places where wind and solar energy are abundant because the United States hasn't built transmission lines to transport the power to faraway places.

"I'm positive it needs to be done because I'm tired of standing in windy places where they have no options," he said.

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