Lawmakers Approach a Deal on Energy Bill

Burning the midnight oil late into Monday night, Congressional lawmakers from both the House and Senate are now very close to a final agreement on comprehensive energy legislation. Although some prominent efforts to infuse energy efficiency and renewable energy were dropped by lawmakers, some remaining items are expected to survive all the way to a final vote that could happen by the end of the week.

Dropped was the Senate’s passage of a 10 percent national Renewable Portfolio Standard, along with attempts to curb the nation’s use of oil or to increase overall vehicle efficiency standards. Ethanol, with its strong farm-belt constituency, made out well through the inclusion of an expanded renewable fuels standard. Supportive measures for renewable energy are minor and mostly limited to the tax title section of the bill which, although close, has yet to be finalized. The package is expected to include a two-year extension of wind power’s coveted Production Tax Credit (PTC) which will also be extended to other technologies. The wind power industry, primarily through the efforts of the American Wind Energy Association, pushed with almost an exclusive vigor to secure an extension of the PTC. Similarly, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has focused their effort on one item of solar tax legislation that could have a major national impact for solar. Expected to survive these last days of Congressional negotiation is an unprecedented federal, two-year, 30 percent investment tax credit. The first such legislation in decades, the national tax credit would be capped at $2000 per residential project and no cap for commercial projects. Equally important is that the overall Energy Bill just might have achieved the right balance to become law. Lawsuit protection for the manufacturers of MTBE, a sticky measure that’s crippled passage of the energy bill in the past, has been dropped, thus giving the overall Energy Bill a better chance of being passed this time around. Similar comprehensive legislation was almost passed in 2003 but stalled due to Senate resistance to the MTBE measure. Lawmakers could bring up the overall bill (including the tax title) for a vote in the House as soon as tomorrow and in the Senate as soon as Thursday. From there it could go to the President’s desk as soon as Monday.
Previous articleDon’t Blame Dems For Dreadful Energy Bill
Next articleHyunadai Installs Solar Module Manufacturing line

No posts to display