The Senate leadership has indicated they plan to bring an energy bill up for floor debate before leaving for the traditional Summer recess in August. At this point, it does not appear they would have the necessary 60 votes to secure passage. The House approved a comprehensive energy bill centered on a cap and trade system to reduce emissions.
Republicans have made it clear that cap and trade, the cornerstone of the 1,000 page Kerry/Lieberman bill in the Senate, known as the American Power Act, would not be supported in its present form. Legislation introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman may present greater opportunities for passage.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has approved Bingaman’s bill, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act, S. 1462, so it can be taken up by the full Senate.
A brief summary of S. 1462 from the Committee follows.
●Accelerate the introduction of new clean energy technologies in the United States, creating new jobs and helping businesses grow through clean energy project financing, a renewable electricity standard and a robust and secure national electricity transmission highway;
●Increase energy efficiency in buildings, major equipment and appliances, saving consumers and businesses billions of dollars on their energy bills;
●Enhance America’s energy independence by increasing clean energy supplies and energy security, including new access to over 20 trillion cubic feet of clean natural gas resources;
●Strengthen America as the world leader in energy innovation, by doubling our national investment in energy research and technology;
●Build a new energy workforce for the future;
●Protect consumers by making energy markets more transparent and fair, and by providing new tools to fight market manipulation; and
●Tackle future energy and climate challenges with smarter, more integrated planning.
Bingaman’s bill provides incentives to develop cleaner energy sources without including cap-and-trade.
Recently, Senators Burr and Chambliss introduced S. 3535, the Next Generation Energy Security Act. According to Senator Burr, this legislation incorporates the use of natural gas for heavy duty and fleet vehicles, promotes electric vehicles, continues support for renewable energy sources and addresses nuclear power issues. A brief summary of S. 3535 follows:
· Extends the income tax credit for the purchase of vehicles run on alternative fuel
· Extends the alternative fuel tax credit for compressed natural gas and liquid natural gas
· Creates a Natural Gas Vehicle Bond Program – allows state and local governments to issue tax exempt bonds in order to finance natural gas vehicle and infrastructure projects
· Requires federal agencies to purchase alternative fuel vehicles unless the agency can show that alternative fuel is unavailable
- Expands the current tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles
- Extends the current tax credit for charging infrastructure
- Directs the DOE, EPA, and DOT to conduct a study analyzing the barriers to electric vehicle market penetration
- Establishes a program to support deployment and integration of electric vehicles in the marketplace
· Extends investment tax credit for solar, fuel cell, microturbine, combined heat and power, small wind through 2019
Extends production tax credit for wind, refined coal, marine renewable energy facilities through 2019.