Power companies should look for ways to drive consumers toward a cleaner, more diverse generation mix given the absence of a federal long-term energy blueprint, according to speakers at Platts 27th Global Power Markets conference in Las Vegas. The lack of a consistent federal energy strategy leaves the sector shrouded in uncertainty, with long-term generation choices in the hands of companies in the private sector.

The industry should look for ways to get customers involved, making sure that they have options to purchase cleaner power if they so choose, said Jerry Bloom, partner at Winston & Strawn. He went on to add that that some customers, given the option, are willing to pay more for a higher-priced good, referencing the popularity of Whole Foods, the organic grocery chain.

Part of the problem around establishing a comprehensive domestic energy plan is the contention over which fuel types are subsidized and if they should be, said Bloom. “There’s not an energy source in the country, starting with the nukes, that’s not subsidized. Let’s get over that and decide how we’re going to allocate [the subsidies],” Bloom said.

Referencing Jon Stewart from an episode of The Daily Show, Jack Fusco, president and ceo of Calpine, said that Washington rhetoric from the last eight presidencies has been to make the U.S. energy independent within a fixed number of years. The effort illustrates that the stagnation is not caused by either a Democratic or Republican administration. “We have to stop picking winners and losers [in technology] and decide where we want to take the country in the next 20-30 years,” Fusco said. Germany and Denmark have energy policies extending to 2050 while “we don’t have a 2013 program,” echoed Kevin Smith, ceo of SolarReserve.


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