PRESIDENT SIGNS OLD ENERGY BILL
President Bush: "We make a major step ... toward reducing our dependence on oil, fighting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations ... a nation that is stronger cleaner and more secure…"
Politics is the art of the possible. NewEnergyNews’ vision of what is possible and what is needed differs radically from the President’s. The lack of a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring utilities to obtain a percent of their power from renewable sources by a date certain and the absence of production tax credits (PTCs) and investment tax credits (ITCs) for New Energies means the bill is simply inadequate to meet the needs of the future. It serves only Old Energy.
Any argument the White House could make in favor of this bill’s provisions for mileage standards and biofuels production applies even more to an even more pressing problem, the development of New Energy.
In the fossil fuel industries, it will be a happy holiday this year. For those who see the urgency of a New Energy infrastructure, the ghost of Christmas future is grumbling.
Energy bill to save ‘billions’
Sharon Silke Carty, December 19, 2007 (USA Today)
President George W. Bush, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
President Bush signed into law the energy bill passed by the Senate and the House in December after a year-long legislative process. It boosts vehicle mileage standards, requires huge increases in biofuel production and funds efficiency measures.
- The big provisions of the bill are a requirement for US automakers to move their fleet mileages up to 35 mpg by 2020 and a requirement for a 6-fold increase in the use of biofuels by 2022.
- Proponents claim the bill will save vehicle users $22 billion/year after 2020 as well as $400 billion in electricity and natural gas bills by 2030
The hope is that the new mileage requirements and biofuels requirements will drive the free market toward breakthroughs in vehicle efficiency technologies.
- The White House calls the bill a “major step “ toward energy independence and fighting global warming.
- Automakers see the legislation as establishing certainty for product-planning. It also protects them from more rigorous standards set by individual states.
- Funding is provided for encouraging a transition to new light bulbs and efficient appliances.
- Brendan Bell, Union of Concerned Scientists: "If you drive a car or if you use a toaster or heat your home, this bill is going to save you money…This is billions and billions of dollars for consumers…"
- David Cole, Center for Automotive Research: "[Automakers] know the energy picture isn't good…They believe the technology is here to enable [meeting the biofuels and mileage requirements]… "
- Phil Reed, Edmunds.com: "It's really good news for consumers…Domestic manufacturers have been marketing SUVs so heavily because they think they are the only things that will sell. Small cars are treated like econoboxes. This bill is going to encourage them to look at expanding this market and figure out a way to build small cars which are also very exciting and the consumers really want to buy."