President Signs Energy Bill

President Bush has signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 into law at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The signing of this bill represents the culmination of years of Congressional stalemate over a vast energy policy package, and a central policy goal of the Bush Administration since the president’s first term in office.

“This bipartisan bill contains numerous provisions that will make energy cleaner, more efficient, and more widely available in the future,” said New Mexico’s Republican Senator Pete V. Domenici who, as Chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, was the leading lawmaker on the policy package. “It is fitting that it will be signed New Mexico, where energy of all types is so important to our state,” Domenici said. Although most of bill’s 14 billion price tag level incentives and tax breaks to the traditional fossil fuel industries, a number of supportive policy wins for renewable energy could usher in a new business cycle for the clean energy industries. The package includes a two-year extension of the wind power industry’s coveted Production Tax Credit (PTC), which will also be extended to a wide array of other renewable energy technologies. The solar industry receives an unprecedented two-year investment tax credit for solar PV, thermal and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). The first such legislation in decades, the national tax credit would be capped at $2000 per residential project and have no limit on commercial projects. With their strong farm-belt constituencies, biofuels, and particularly ethanol, made out well through the inclusion of an expanded renewable fuels standard that will effectively double the amount of biofuels being produced. Ocean energy, a particularly undeveloped technology in the U.S. received a host of policy items to help propel new projects. Geothermal and hydropower also received helpful policy items, as did hydrogen and fuel cells. In short, all the renewable energy technologies, except small wind, received something to help promote their development and businesses. There are also tax breaks for homeowners to use energy efficiency appliances and make energy efficiency improvements and tax breaks for the purchase of hybrid-electric cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. 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. With the bill’s signing today, the bill’s many policy items go into effect beginning next year.
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