Questions You Should Ask The Candidates

With elections coming this November, you are encouraged to ask people running for public office where they stand on renewable energy.

Published on: Apr 25, 2012

America is seeking a new energy future - one that is cleaner, improves national security and strengthens local, state and national economies. The 25x'25 Alliance believes that America's working lands can provide 25% of our energy from renewable resources like wind, solar, and biofuels by the year 2025 while continuing to produce safe, affordable and abundant food, feed and fiber.

Following is a message for voters to keep in mind as they listen and talk to candidates running for public office in 2012. This message is from the 25x'25 Alliance.

Today, nearly 1,000 organizations have endorsed this vision of a new energy future. Thirty-five current and former governors have endorsed the 25x'25 goal, as have 15 state legislatures. On October 15, 2007 the U.S. Congress formally adopted the 25x'25 vision when the House of Representatives joined with the Senate in passing a resolution setting a goal of deriving 25% of our nation's energy use from agricultural, forestry and other renewable resources by 2025.

Questions You Should Ask The Candidates
Questions You Should Ask The Candidates

Questions on America's energy future for candidates for public office

As we enter into another spirited campaign season leading up to the elections in November, it is imperative that all candidates for public office be vetted on their positions on renewable energy policy as well as become familiar with the 25x'25 Vision.  We are reaching out to you today to encourage you to engage candidates at all levels as they campaign within your state, county or municipality and ask them specific, direct questions regarding their support for the development of renewable forms of energy.  We want to ensure that renewable energy production is at the forefront of every candidate's platform and that they understand their constituents are passionate about their ability to contribute to a 25x'25 vision.

Attached are examples of questions you might use when approaching candidates. We also have existing 25x'25 tools that you can utilize to build support for 25x'25 goals – tools like the findings of the 25% Renewable Energy for the United States by 2025: An Analysis on Jobs Created By Meeting This Goal.  This research found that achieving the 25x'25 goal has the potential to spark $646 billion in additional economic activity, the creation of more than 4.7 million jobs, and up to $37 billion in additional revenues for agriculture and forestry.

Discuss this information with candidates, so they're aware of the progress

We also urge you to share with candidates the incredible overall progress that our nation has made in scaling up and reducing the cost of renewable energy.  To help tell this remarkable story, 25x'25 has developed "Renewable Energy Growing by Leaps and Bounds - Snapshots of Renewable Energy Development," a handy reference guide which highlights the surging growth that has occurred in the renewable energy arena since the beginning of the millennium in 2000.

It is important to know where candidates stand on the issue of renewable energy. Ask them questions that cause them to respond thoughtfully and completely. Through this outreach, we all learn more about the viewpoints of the candidates, create greater awareness of the 25x'25 goal, and develop a record of statements that can be used to hold candidates accountable if elected to office.

Thank you for your continued leadership in expanding the energy solutions that can be delivered from our nation's farms, ranches and forests. Please report back to us on the candidates' responses to your questions should you have the opportunity to interact with them.

Suggested questions for the candidates:

  • If elected, will you work aggressively to craft and implement a comprehensive energy policy that will rapidly increase energy efficiency, accelerate the production of renewable energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create new economic development? If so, what policies would you use to accomplish this goal?
  • Ninety-two percent of our nation's energy comes from costly and/or limited energy resources. What will you do to diversify the energy that we consume?
  • Unstable governments have a lot of influence on global oil production and trade. What will you do to increase our nation's energy independence and reduce or eliminate the impacts that an energy supply disruption and subsequent price hike would have on consumers?
  •  The Renewable Fuels Standard is the single most important policy to ensure stability in the biofuels market. This stability leads to new investments, continued research and development, and reduces the risk of commercial-scale production of new technologies and products. Will you support keeping the Renewable Fuels Standard in place as currently written and resist amendments to change or repeal this law?
  • Several production tax credits, investment tax credits, biofuels blender credits, and the 1603 treasury grant program, which provide incentives for development and deployment of renewable energy have expired or will soon expire. Will you support renewal and extension of these important financing tools?
  • Will you commit to increase the level of support and investment in the research, development and deployment of clean renewable energy at our land grant institutions, USDA research stations and DOE national laboratories?
  • Farmers, ranchers and foresters produce much more than just food, feed and fiber. USDA plays a major role in helping to scale up clean and secure energy from all across the nation. Will you support maintaining a comprehensive Energy Title in the next Farm Bill?
  • Here are some quick facts:
  • Renewable energy made up 9.3% of total U.S. energy consumption in 2011.
  • In 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided almost 12% of domestic U.S. energy production.
  • Ethanol now accounts for 10% of the nation's gasoline supply.
  • The U.S. biodiesel industry produced nearly 1.1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2011 - a new industry record - surpassing the RFS2 mandate of 800 million gallons
  • U.S. wind power installed capacity exceeds 46,919 MW. Texas leads the nation in installed wind capacity at 10,643 MW.
  • U.S. ethanol production capacity is 14.906 billion gallons per year.  Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production at 3.7 billion gallons per year.
  • As of year-end 2011, cumulative solar PV capacity in the U.S. reached nearly 4,000 MW.
U.S. installed biopower capacity was 13,000 MW in 2010.  Biopower can be derived from biomass, solid wastes, and landfill gas.