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Ms. TIERNEY. It will-a new house in a specific place will get a specific amount of power from the generating sources in that area.
Mr. HASTERT. The question is you brought up before that we will not be building new nuclear energy in this country, so—and they are operating at probably, depending on what the load is in some areas, but probably 75 to 80 percent of capacity across this country, which is about their max peaking capacity. Now, you either build new gas peakers that are going to put out more carbon, or you are going to build new clean coal plants-I am talking to you-clean coal plants? So in the growth of housing, if there is going to be economic growth, is that going to be more million metric tons than the average or less, because you already negate the one, the clean energy that we have in this country.
Ms. TIERNEY. Could I direct your attention to the first chart, which shows the growth in tons of greenhouse gases that we think will happen this decade without this plan in place. And that is the column, second from the right, thank you.
That assumes that there are new power plants added to the mix in the United States and the information I was trying to get, and I apologize for being disrespectful, was what those new power plants are, are they principally gas? There are a lot of new gas plants added.
Mr. HASTERT. Peaker plants and main load?
Ms. TIERNEY. And combined cycle, yes. But what I was inquiring behind is what percentage of that new capacity is coal as well. Will you let me check? Mr. HASTERT. Sure, absolutely, I am sorry. Ms. TIERNEY. Would you permit me to supply it for the record? Mr. HASTERT. Fine. [The information follows:) Between the years 1990 and 2000, electric utility capacity is expected to grow by around 44 gigawatts in both the administration's Baseline and Combined Policy cases. Coal capacity represents about 34 percent of that growth, or 15 gigawatts. In the Combined Policy case, 53 percent (23 gigawatts) of the growth in capacity will be from renewable sources, 22 percent (10 gigawatts) from natural gas, and 5 percent (2 gigawatts) from nuclear. Over the same period, oil-fired generating capacity is expected to decline by 6 gigawatts, 14 percent of the 44 gigawatt increase, which represents 10 percent of its 1990 level. Much of the coal capacity that will be brought on line between now and the year 2000 is already under construction.
Mr. HASTERT. And finally, one of the things that you mentioned before is if there is ever going to be new technology in energy production, in nuclear energy production, if we do find the ways to produce cleaner nuclear energy, we still have the waste issue and what are you going to do. I think it is very imperative this administration work on that. What are we doing in new technologies like IFR that consume nuclear waste?
Ms. TIERNEY. If my memory serves me correctly, we are continuing to support that in our budget proposals and I will get you a specific answer for the record.
Mr. HASTERT. Thank you very much. [The information follows:] While it is true the administration's fiscal year 1994 budget requested substantially reduced research and development activities in nuclear energy, we have continued to request, and Congress has provided, support for the actinide recycle por. tion of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) Program; the fiscal year 1994 budget request is $15 million.
Mr. HASTERT. I yield back to the chairman.
Mr. SHARP. An appropriate moment. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Boucher.
Mr. BOUCHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I want to offer my congratulations along with others to the Clinton administration for this very creative and thoughtful plan which promises a responsible result without significant damage to the economy. I think you have done a good job and I credit you for that. I do have a couple of questions about it.
I notice that while you intend to undertake some pilot projects for joint implementation with other countries, that you do not intend to rely upon joint implementation in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2000 to 1990 levels. You intend to do that entirely using domestic approaches. But suppose you don't reach the result and by the year 1998 or 1999 it appears that we are not getting there, could we then rely upon what you have accomplished with joint implementation with other countries as a backstop, as a way to enable us to reach this goal? And would you deem that to be a satisfactory result?
Mr. POMERANCE. The intention the President's intention has been and continues to be to meet this goal domestically. And I think the plan makes it clear that there will be monitoring of the results and if further progress is needed that more measures will be suggested or implemented. And those would presumably be domestic measures.
On the accounting of joint implementation, I think—what our proposal is is a pilot program and we intend to revise it in about 2 years, and we will monitor the proposals that are submitted, we will verify the reductions, score the proposals. And any decision about-we have not made a decision about how to ultimately deal with those. I mean, if we meet the target domestically and further reductions occur through joint implementation, the environment will be better off. But no decision, specific decision has been made about how to deal with, I mean credit those in the context of this plan.
Mr. BOUCHER. All right. So that debate lies ahead of us. That is fine.
You probably are aware that the Federal Coordinating Council and Science, Engineering and Technology is coordinating a multiagency effort on research in global climate change. We are spending hundreds of millions every year in that R&D effort. Presumably that effort before too very long will produce some new knowledge for us about the phenomenon of global warming and what threats may be posed by it.
Now, your stated goal is to reduce by the year 2000 the emission of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels. Given that goal, what flexibility do you have to use whatever new scientific knowledge may be forthcoming? And how do you intend to employ that knowledge should it show perhaps that the threat is not as serious as some have assumed?
Mr. POMERANCE. I think that the underlying assumption of all factors in this
on this problem, is that further scientific knowledge is always welcome and a critical ingredient to policymaking. If some new major insight was gained, I am sure that might affect what the administration would do. But I will say that that insight could go both ways. It could reduce the scale of the problem, or increase it.
But I will say that the scientific assessment, which I have submitted for the record, in its fundamental character hasn't changed for some time. These gases are accumulating. We understand their radiative properties, we understand the estimated global warming associated with different concentrations, and the central story hasn't changed for some time and is unlikely to.
It is important to remember that this program is a first step. It acknowledges the need to look to the long term, post 2000, with new technologies, because the scientific community has pointed out repeatedly that you have to differentiate between emissions and concentrations. Concentrations are going up, even though emissions are lower than what they might have been.
Mr. BOUCHER. Well, you are right in saying that the basic scientific store of knowledge hasn't changed very much with regard to this set of issues. The National Academy of Science, however, says that that store is really pretty thin, that we have seen, in effect, a one degree increase in global mean temperature since the start of the Industrial Revolution and that is on the Fahrenheit scale, but the best models that we have available to make predictions if applied to the world's climate in 1890 when the industrial revolution started and asked to predict today's result, would show something like a four degree increase. And so the best scientific means that we have to make predictions are admittedly very flawed. Things haven't changed much, they certainly haven't change much for the better.
I guess my question really is, do you have the flexibility to use the new scientific evidence as it comes forward if it shows in fact that the threat of global warming is perhaps not as great as some have suggested? Is there flexibility in the goal itself of reducing CO2 emissions by the year 2000 to 1990 levels?
Mr. POMERANCE. Well, I would just say that the—two things. One is the President is committed to this goal based on the current scientific understanding. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the international body that is reviewing this, will produce another assessment of about five key scientific issues next fall and then an entire reassessment of the issue in 1995.
Mr. BOUCHER. OK. Let me just look
Ms. TIERNEY. Could I add to that? Just to explain one piece of our plan, and that is the portion of the plan—there is two pieces that I think are responsive to your question. One of them is a working group that includes the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Environmental Policy, and the National Economic Council, that will look at the long-term strategy. That will be informed by the scientific information. We are serious about looking at what we need to do after the year 2000, consistent with the President's pledge.
Mr. BOUCHER. Well, I believe you are supposed to make recommendations from this tri agency group of OSTP and the National Economic Council and the Office of Environmental Policy by the end of 1994. That is not very long from now.
Ms. TIERNEY. And the second part
Mr. BOUCHER. That is about 142 years away.
Let me ask you this, do you intend to involve industry in those discussions? Will the private sector have an opportunity to participate with these three agencies as the post 2000 strategy is constructed?
Ms. TIERNEY. Absolutely. We also have this biennial review that is part of our plan. We will be using best available information as we move forward. We are firmly committed at present and don't anticipate that we would change from the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. But we will always have that information available.
Mr. BOUCHER. Let me just ask one additional brief question and that is this: I know that within the next 2 years you are supposed to perform, according to your plan, an assessment to determine whether or not the voluntary programs are, in fact, working: Isn't
, . that a fairly short period of time within which to get any kind of useful information about how these voluntary programs are being implemented and what their results are? I mean, given the lag time of data collection alone, if you are measuring in 1995, what you are likely to get is the results as they exist in 1994, and is that really going to tell you very much?
Ms. TIERNEY. Let me just start by saying, by the first biennial review, we will know what has happened in terms of budget appropriations; we will know what is happening in terms of getting programs rolled out. We will know about early penetration rates in those programs. That will be followed up by subsequent biennial reviews in which we have much more data on how many people are participating, how many companies are participating, whether or not our estimates of efficiency reduction are high or low for any individual program.
Mr. BOUCHER. OK. So you are not going to make any dramatic decisions based upon the first biennial review; you intend to have additional reviews down the road and based upon what you learn over time, you will make the real judgment as to whether or not the voluntary programs are in fact working?
Ms. TIERNEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. SHARP. Ms. Tierney, let me ask you to focus on one of the specifics which we would be legislatively involved in on our subcommittee, and that is the hydroelectric dam issue. Could you explain to me what it is you are proposing to do, the mechanics of how that worked?
Ms. TIERNEY. I thought there might be a question on this one. At Federal facilities where there are efficiency gains in the generating capacity associated with new equipment, and therefore today's megawatt output could be increased-excuse me. I don't know if it is megawatt. Megawatt-hour-energy output could be increased without increasing the size of the reservoir—we would make that increase in efficiency available for private investment. We would own the asset, the Federal Government would continue to own the asset. There would be no change in the distribution of energy from the existing level of energy. The additional level of energy would be available for investment from the private sector and then available for contracting for other purposes.
We think that what the proposal does is enable capital that has not been forthcoming either from the Federal Government or from some of the customers of these facilities to be brought to bear in increasing efficiency.
Mr. SHARP. So in other words you are not going to focus on water flow rates and the kind of things that might change and might attract intense opposition, but rather try to entice the private sector to invest in upgrading the equipment and then they have a piece of the ownership or at least they have a contract in which they are able to earn money off of that increment of power that is generated, is that
Ms. TIERNEY. They wouldn't have a piece of the ownership, but the rest of your statement is correct.
Mr. SHARP. Right, they wouldn't have ownership, but they would have a contract with the Federal Government in which they could make money out of it.
Ms. TIERNEY. As if that were a small, independent power plant right there.
Mr. SHARP. I see. And you say it does not affect distribution. Do you mean distribution of the current level of energy output or do you mean the increment?
Ms. TIERNEY. It would not affect the current level of output from today's hydroelectric facilities. The increase would be available for contract sales from the entity that lent to invest in the new equipment.
Mr. SHARP. Right. Sounds to me it might be the norm for a current utility system that purchases the power already to be the investor. I mean, is that-have you sort of surveyed among any of these people to get a sense about who is likely, I mean whether there are people out there that will see this as attractive? I mean, I can imagine a utility system that buys power to say they can increase their increment by making this investment.
Ms. TIERNEY. I am confident they will be interested in it based upon what we think the economics are associated with this efficiency gain and what the power could be sold for in certain markets. So, yes, I think utilities would be one potential.
Mr. HAUSKER. And we would put that out for competitive bid and get the largest lease payment for the Federal Government.
Mr. SHARP. I mean, I am trying to remember off the top of my head what degree these people become utilities that have to invest or what I guess we gave them a chance to become, and the risks of self-dealing and the whole issues that we had under PUHCA reform. But PUHCA reform probably helps you.
Mr. HASTERT. If the gentleman would yield.
Mr. HASTERT. Or I take some time. If you make that available, OPP's that they could wield, then they could wield in any market. So what has traditionally happened in the hydro, you had a captured market and people paying very, very low prices for hydroelectricity. So if you go out and actually put in the real market through OPP's-is that your intention, that they could wield this and get a substantial larger amount for that marginal amount?