In the Midst of a Heat Wave, Discussion on a Wave of Federal Energy Policies also Heats Up
As record breaking temperatures raise energy bills for us who live here in DC this month, energy bills of another type are the focus on the Hill. In the next few weeks, before the August recess, policymakers and the Obama administration are expected to address energy and climate legislation.
The Alliance to Save Energy prepared the following rundown on several proposals:
- The American Clean Energy Leadership Act (S. 1462), which won bipartisan support in the Senate Energy Committee last year and contains critical energy efficiency provisions including building codes, appliance standards, research and development, and building retrofit programs.
- The Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act, which passed unanimously out of the Senate Energy Committee, reforms federal oversight of offshore drilling in the wake of the massive Deepwater Horizon spill.
- The Practical Energy and Climate Plan Act (S. 3464), introduced by Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which includes a standard for electricity from renewables, nuclear, and clean coal as well as efficiency; vehicle fuel economy standards; building codes; appliance standards; and other efficiency provisions.
- A to-be-determined energy tax package, that could draw from earlier tax incentive proposals from Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
- A Utility-Only Cap, which has been a back-up plan in the Senate but has received a lot of recent attention, with the leadership of Senators Bingaman and Snowe. This pared down cap-and-trade proposal would remove transportation fuels and industrial emissions from a cap similar to the American Power Act.
- The American Power Act, the long-awaited bill introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in May, which looks similar to the House-passed ACES, without many of the energy provisions already included in ACELA, and with additional incentives for natural gas, nuclear power, coal, and oil drilling.
- The CLEAR Act (S. 2877), which was introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in November, and is gaining some support due to its simplicity. Notably, the cap would return 75 percent of allowance revenues directly to consumers, who, through the Energy Efficiency Consumer Loan Program could use the dividends to finance energy efficiency improvements in their homes.
Additional Bills to lookout for
The Alliance also rounded up the following energy efficiency bills under consideration:
- The e-Know Act (H.R. 4860), which would give homeowners more knowledge of their home energy use.
- The Supply Star Act (S. 3396), which would encourage businesses to invest in energy efficiency up and down their supply chain.
- The Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2010 (S. 3364), which would provide technical assistance for schools to explore existing federal programs and financing options that would help make schools more energy-efficient.
- The Home Star (S. 3434) proposal for residential building retrofits and the complementary Building Star (S. 3079) proposal, which could become part of a broader energy bill.
- An extension of the New Homes Tax Credit as part of a tax extenders package that has become stymied in the Senate over fiscal concerns.
- FY 2011 appropriations, which could threaten a budget cut for energy efficiency and renewable energy, but are likely to be postponed at least until after the election.
- PACE, which supports energy efficiency and renewable energy projects by providing up-front capital that is subsequently paid back through an addition to participants' property taxes.
With the situation in the Gulf and President Obama's support for carbon pricing, these issues won't be cooling down anytime soon. Stay tuned for updates!