"It's doable," Senator Bernie Sanders said today after former Vice President Al Gore called on the United States to abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, wind and other renewable sources of power. "He is absolutely right," Sanders said. "This country has the potential not only to transform our energy system but to create millions of good-paying jobs as we move away from our dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels." Gore compared the 10-year push to generate all of the country's electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources to President Kennedy's challenge for the country to put a man on the moon in the 1960s.
Sanders and Gore met backstage after the Nobel laureate spoke to a crowd of several thousand in the packed DAR Constitution Hall. They discussed the former vice president's remarks as well as legislation Sanders introduced this month that would promote 10 million new solar rooftops in the next 10 years.
"Like John F. Kennedy's goal of sending a man to the moon, it can be done if we have the political will," Sanders said of Gore's speech. "We have the technology today to transform our energy system away from foreign oil and fossil fuels and, within 10 years, to produce 100 percent of our electricity from cost-effective sustainable energy."
The 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2008 would encourage installation of 10 million photovoltaic systems over a 10-year period at private homes and businesses. Non-profits and state and local governments also would be eligible for rebates covering up to half of the cost of systems. In order to qualify for the federal rebates, the homes and businesses would have to meet stringent energy efficiency standards.
Some experts say 10 percent of the existing rooftops in the United States, when equipped with properly installed and maintained solar systems, could supply 70 percent of peak U.S. energy demands during summer months.
Sanders' legislation is patterned after successful state programs promoting solar energy in California and New Jersey.
To read the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2008, click here.
To watch the Senators statement on sustainable energy, click here.