Former Energy Secretary Warns of 'Serious Challenges'

At Eaton energy conference, Abraham says U.S. energy policy will require collaboration of public and private sectors.

The U.S. faces serious consequences if it continues its current energy consumption without developing alternative energy sources, new technologies and increased efficiency, according to former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham.

Abraham, who served as U.S. energy secretary from 2001 to 2005 for the George W. Bush administration, in speaking to an audience at an Austin, Texas, energy conference on May 10, said that these challenges will bring pressure on a wide range of industries and will require the collaboration of public and private entities.

"We face serious energy management challenges on a number of fronts, the foremost of which include rising energy costs, aging infrastructure and the need to develop and deploy diverse, clean energy technologies to meet growing demand," he said. "We won't be able to address these challenges without collaboration between the public and private sectors."

The conference, which was sponsored by industrial manufacturer Eaton Corp., is the second of three events which brings national, state and local experts into a forum to discuss energy issues, along with seminars on high-performance green buildings, hybrid and advanced vehicle technology and energy management products.

Abraham shared his insights on the prospects of passage of a comprehensive energy bill, along with areas where there has been bipartisan support nationally, such as on Building STAR, a pending legislation that promotes energy savings in commercial buildings by offering rebates and financing incentives for building owners to upgrade their property's efficiency.

"Energy is not a Republican or Democratic issue," said Abraham. "It's an American issue. We have to set aside our differences and work collaboratively toward a greener, cleaner and more energy efficient future. Companies like Eaton are leading the way, moving the U.S. from discussion into action when it comes to better managing, developing and conserving our precious energy resources."

The third part of Eaton's series on energy will take place in Chicago on June 7.

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