Friday, August 15, 2008

Ed Rendell on "Money Matters"

Gov. Rendell appeared on CN8's "Money Matters" with Mary Caraccioli last Tuesday. They spoke about renewable energy at the beginning of the show, and politics at the end. In the middle a financial investor spoke about a selection of stocks. I did not transcribe any of the investor's remarks. They were interesting, to be sure, but that isn't the focus of the blog.

These are rough notes. My apologies in advance for any errors or misconceptions. You can watch the episode yourself on "On Demand."

M is Mary Caraccioli, ER is Gov. Rendell

M: Today I met Gov Ed Rendell at one of the two major wind manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania. They have a backlog of orders for their wind turbines.

ER: Gamesa came here because we passed Advanced Energy Portfolio Standards. We said by 2021 18% of the energy sold at retail must come from renewables, wind, solar, geothermal, clean coal. Prior to that happening PA was the lading state in the Eastern US in creating wind power but only barely. Gamesa came in and we are on track to produce 10 times as much.

M: Must be a market for it. When oil goes up the market goes up.

ER: Have to help create the market. Incentivize. Gamesa fairly mature already. Others are newer -- radiowaves off water, turn tobacco leaves into ethanol, microwave old tires. Incentivize early state industries. Tax advantage for investing in renewables for consumer. Right now congress considering extending tax credit for incentives. W/o that tax credit you won’t get investment in private sector. Govt won’t be enough to keep industry going.

M: timetable to get to 18% renewable in PA.. As a nation to get to a place where we are far more energy independent.

ER: 2021, some are other years. I think we can get there even faster. Boone Pickens thinks we can get 20% of our energy from wind in 5 years if we make the commitment. Helps environment. Could use natural gas now used for electricity for cars to decrease dependence on foreign oil. New president must convene Manhattan Project on first day. Cellulosic ethanol from wood chips agricultural waste, landfill waste switchgrass. Iowa is capitol of corn ethanol. We could be the capital of cellulosic.

M: How close are we?

ER: We have woodchips and wood fiber, a lot of agricultural waste, big landfill state, switchgrass and landgrass galore. Two cellulosic ethanol plants in construction. If they are successful in the first year then in 5 years you will see a lot more. We will have to call on everything. Solar, wind geothermal, clean coal, hydro. Everything’s got to be on the table. Rising demand in the world, India, China, Africa, means no matter how much we produce the supply will never meet the demand. C word, conservation. McCain made fun of Obama’s comment on air pressure. But Obama is right. Air pressure, air filters, drive speed limit

M: Jimmy Carter, wear sweater lower thermostat, perceived as a defeatist message.

ER: It’s how you sell it. President should say “are you ticked off about energy and gas prices?” The govt will do something but it will take time but if you want to send a message to the world, cut your consumption by 10%. It will send a message that will shake their eye teeth. If demand drops then price will drop.

[John Morris, principal, from Crestwood Advisors / investments discusses green stocks]

M: Millions of dollars already spent on presidential tv ads. In PA John McCain outspending Barack Obama. Can McCain win PA?

ER: McCain is the most attractive candidate in winning PA in 20 years. He can win it. We have to draw the difference between McCain and Obama on the issues. When they learn McCain, while a nice man, is a conservative not a moderate. Won’t play well in Philly suburbs. Will chose Supreme Court judges like the ones Bush chose.

M: need Hillary Clinton

ER: doesn’t need her but it would be easier to win PA with her. Obama must spend time here must spend money here. People start getting interested after the conventions and Labor Day. He has to deliver those messages, esp to moderates and Republican women. Best surrogate is Hillary Clinton. Spoke to her on Monday she said she would be back to campaign for Obama.

M: His vice president may upstage him

ER: Yes, if you listen to him talk, he talks in glowing terms about the book Team of Rivals, Lincoln put many of his primary rivals on his cabinet, 4 of chief rivals in primary. People thought he was crazy but he said the nation is challenged and he needed best people available. Willing to have Joe Biden as vp. Great foreign policy experience. Also best help other than Clinton in winning PA. Biden was born in Scranton and Joe’s commercials have aired in Philly for 20 years.

M; You are always mentioned for jobs. If you could pick your own job in Obama’s White House what would it be?

ER: I have an implied contract with the voters to serve out term as governor. If I finish my term in January 2011 and secretary of energy or transportation were available would like to do that. Would do virtually anything Obama asked me to do.

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