Help Strengthen HR2454 -The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

Please help us by encouraging Congress to strengthen this bill.

Currently the United States Congress, under the leadership of Chairman Henry Waxman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Edward Markey of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, is working on the details of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES). ACES is promoted as a comprehensive approach to America's energy policy. It charts a course towards a clean energy economy. The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) commends the committees' work. Unfortunately, the bill as rewritten misses the mark.
In compromising with competing interests and industries, the committees have lowered their carbon-emission targets. They've responded to interests that don't appreciate the crisis nature of climate change. At this point, the partial solutions proposed will not sufficiently mitigate atmospheric carbon nor establish significant drivers for the clean energy economy. The bill coming out of committee is too weak and has structural defects that require it be revisited.
ASES Policy Recommendations

The ASES Policy Committee spent months working through a series of recommendations for the 111th Congress. (

We focused on:

• Energy efficiency for buildings;
• Renewable energy for buildings;
• Renewable electricity production;
• Transportation efficiency;
• Smart grid and green transmission;
• Green economy and workforce development;
• Federal leadership; and
• Carbon.

There are three areas where the American Solar Energy Society suggests the bar needs to be raised:

1. In ACES, Waxman and Markey allocate 85% of the emission permits free, mostly to carbon intensive industries, rather than including them in an auction system. This give-away provides windfall profits to the very polluters whom we want to rein in, and gives them a competitive advantage over companies that have already cleaned up their act. We want to encourage change, not provide an economic reward for old business practices. If only 15% of permits are auctioned, only 15% of the expected revenue is available to grow the green economy and aggressively develop low-carbon solutions to replace high-carbon sources.

2. By 2020, ACES proposes to reduce CO2 17% below the 2005 level. ASES policy recommendations target a 30% reduction by 2020. The difference has real consequences for the climate. We need the more ambitious target.

3. ACES proposes a 20% renewable energy standard (RES) by 2020 with provision of up to 5% coming from efficiency. ASES suggests that this is not ambitious enough. We call for 28% RES (with no efficiency offset) and a 3% solar set-aside by 2020.

Cap-and-trade is meant to be a market-based system. To be effective, its targets must be set high enough to move the market. Time is of the essence. We must act now and we must act boldly. ACES, as now written, is not ambitious enough to move markets. Indeed, giving emissions allocations away for free simply delays the price signal, and thus the action of market forces, by some years - years we don't have.

The American Solar Energy Society takes the position that all permits must be auctioned. They must be auctioned upstream, where carbon first enters the economy. That sends a direct price signals on carbon, and produces offsetting revenue to help consumers, businesses and local governments to choose sustainable energy strategies.


The bar must be high to make a difference. We absolutely need to send the right market signal from day one. Progress toward a sustainable energy economy requires consistently ambitious action. The time for visionary leadership, using 21st century technologies, is now. If you agree with us, please let your member of Congress know how you feel.

Simply call the Washington switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask to speak with your Representative or click here for the online directory:

Thank you for adding your voice to this important legislation. Your call makes a difference. And together, we're speeding the transition to a sustainable energy economy.

With sincere thanks,

Brad Collins
Executive Director,
American Solar Energy Society