Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a fairly ecogeeky energy bill. Though the bill still has to get through the Senate and somehow dodge an already threatened veto from W, it's worth taking a look at why this bill matters and why (so far) it looks fantastic.
- $13 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies will be repealed
- Renewable energy projects (including wind, solar, hydro, landfill gas, biomass and waste-to-energy) will get $21 billion in funding
- The average fuel efficiency of American automobiles will be increased from 27 to 35 by 2020
- 36 billion gallons of the fuel America consumes in 2022 will be required to be biofuel, and 21 billion gallons of that has to come from non-food sources
- Power utilities will be required to get 15% of their power from renewable sources
So there you have it. All at once we have significant legislation promoting wind and solar thermal, funding renewable energy, increasing vehicle efficiency and spurring research and interest in cellulosic ethanol.
It's very likely that the bill will be watered down in the Senate, and the president has threatened to veto anything that requires a 35 mpg fleet efficiency. But this is a good starting point.
Every hit this bill takes will hurt our country, but maybe what comes through in the end will be enough to put America back in a leadership position for the coming clean-tech. economy.
written by daniel bell, December 07, 2007
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