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Briefly Noted … Energy Policy

Briefly Noted … Energy Policy

– The environmental committee of the U.S. Senate has summoned industry, environmental and public health representatives to a closed-door meeting to discuss proposed changes to the Clean Air Act. The committee chair, independent Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords, said he would hold electric utilities accountable for cutting emissions. Democrats want utilities to make steep cuts in emissions starting next year, while Republicans and utilities prefer an emissions trading scheme to reduce pollution that would start in 2007. They also oppose limits on carbon dioxide. Jeffords says his legislation will address all four pollutants: CO2, NOx, SO2 and mercury. – India has introduced a new energy conservation law that bans electrical appliance manufacturers from dumping outdated or inefficient products on the market. The country suffers from massive electricity shortfalls and is ending the state monopoly of electricity boards. Nearly one fifth of electricity capacity is lost in transmission, distribution and theft. A bureau of energy efficiency will be set up to introduce stringent energy conservation norms, but penalties under the new law will be kept in abeyance for five years while people are made aware of the economics of power conservation. – The cost of heating and electricity will be lower in much of the world this winter, with some of the price drop due to the terrorist attacks in September. DOE’s Energy Information Administration says heating bills in the United States will be US$170 to $320 lower than last winter, assuming normal weather. The largest near-term impact on world oil demand will come from the drop in demand for jet fuel, which has already dropped 10 percent outside the U.S. and 20 percent within the U.S. Lower economic activity will reduce natural gas demand and electricity demand will fall by 1 percent this winter, compared with last year’s jump of 4.6 percent.