Monday, April 10, 2006

Renewable Energy Bill Introduced in the US Senate

While Dubya's love affair with renewable energy seems to have fallen by the wayside (guess he really has to devote himself to covering his butt these days), they'll be talking about it in the Senate soon with the introduction of the "Breaking Our Long-term Dependence (BOLD) Energy Act" by Senator Kent Conrad. From Renewable Energy Access:
With energy independence and renewable energy development a legislative priority for Congressional leaders, the introduction of another renewable energy legislative proposal made its way to the Senate floor last week. Senator Kent Conrad's (D-ND) bill, called Breaking Our Long-term Dependence (BOLD) Energy Act, includes a five-year extension of the solar investment tax credit for businesses through 2012 and an extension of the wind energy production tax credit for the same period.

The bill would also require ethanol use in the U.S. to increase from 4.7 billion gallons in 2007 to 30 billion gallons by 2025, and would establish a new biodiesel and alternative diesel standard of 250 million gallons in 2008, increasing to two billion gallons in 2015, creating greater demand for biodiesel as a transportation fuel -- and greater demand for biodiesel manufacturing plants.

Recognizing the need for conservation, the BOLD Act encourages the manufacture and purchase of fuel-efficient and flexible-fuel vehicles. Purchasers of fuel-efficient vehicles would qualify for rebates up to $2,500. Automakers would be encouraged to install advanced technologies, including flexible-fuel technology, by 2017. They would be eligible for either a 35 percent tax credit or retiree health care grants to make this transition.
There's an awful lot to like in this bill, and the Solar Energy Industries Association's only regret is the lack of a residential tax credit for solar power (which would be mighty sweet). They're also not particularly hopeful that it will pass in its current form. Still, the politicians seem to be getting the message that an awful lot of Americans want measures like this, so it will be interesting to see how this fares...

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