Roll Out the Barrels — Congress Blows Energy Bill

Nobody should be happy with the way the energy bill has been compromised into toothlessness and rushed through the conference process so the boobs on the Hill can appear to be addressing this essential issue before they take their summer break.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has analyzed the conference bill and found that it would save a lot less energy than the Senate’s version (much of which was dropped in conference) — especially on reducing oil consumption.

ACEEE’s preliminary analysis found that the Senate bill would have saved a million barrels per day, or about 4% of total oil demand in 2020. The conference report, on the other hand, would save only about 100,000 barrels per day, or less than .005%.

Most of the bill’s energy savings come from energy efficiency standards that ACEEE estimates would save about 30,000 megawatts of capacity and 90 billion kilowatt-hours in 2020, offsetting about 3% of total U.S. power plant capacity and 2% of total electricity use.

Tax incentives provide the other big source of energy savings — about 0.5 quads, or just under .005% of projected 2020 energy use.

Other efficiency provisions include:

* Increased R&D spending authorizations
* Improved appliance labeling
* Voluntary agreements to increase industrial energy efficiency
* A study and pilot program for states to expand use of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards
* Requirements for states to facilitate development of combined heat and power and other distributed generation technologies
* A national public education campaign on energy efficiency

ACEEE concluded:

While these efficiency provisions save modest amounts of energy, Congress dropped more substantial provisions in the Senate bill, including the one-million-barrel-per-day oil savings target, efficiency standards for vehicle tires, combined heat and power incentives, and a requirement for states to consider energy savings targets for utilities (similar to the standard President Bush approved when governor of Texas). These and other provisions would have doubled overall energy savings and increased oil savings tenfold. ACEEE’s earlier analysis of an enhanced bill that would tackle these issues more seriously showed that it could produce four times the total energy savings and 15 times the oil savings of the conference report.


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