Energy Legislation Update

Wed, 2010-11-17 10:52

In early September, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) declared climate legislation dead, indicating that the Senate would have to pursue smaller, piecemeal bills. Many bills were quickly introduced, but the Senate left for mid-term campaigning before taking action. With Congress now back in session, a number of these smaller bills, dealing with energy production, tax credits, and energy efficiency, are fighting to make it to the floor before the end of the year.

    Among the bills to be considered are:
  • Tax Incentives and Grants: Tax incentives for the purchase and manufacture of natural gas vehicles, grants for refueling stations, and $100 million to the Department of Energy to accelerate deployment of plug-in electric vehicles.
  • Tax Extenders: A $100 billion tax package that could include extension of energy related tax incentives, ranging from research and development on clean technology to ethanol-gasoline blending.
  • Loan Guarantee Program: Proposal to move unspent stimulus money for renewable energy loan guarantees into another existing renewable energy grant program to better protect the funds. Some funding was previously taken out of the guarantee program for “Cash for Clunkers.”
  • Renewable Electricity Standard: Would mandate that 15% of the nation’s electricity generation come from renewable sources by 2021. Energy efficiency could meet a portion of this requirement.
  • “Spill Bill”: Legislation created in response to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which would likely improve safety requirements, place a fee on companies for inspections, increase penalties, and improve the oil well permitting process.

The outlook for these bills is not great, but there are fervent supporters behind each, and some even have bi-partisan support, such as the Renewable Energy Standard put forth by Senators Bingaman (D-NM) and Brownback (R-KS). We will keep you updated on their progress.

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