The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington D.C.-based energy think tank, has put together a list of efficiency-related items that it thinks could move forward in Congress next year due to Tuesday’s election.
1. A “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard” and an “Energy-Efficiency Resource Standard”: Both are gradually growing targets that utilities must meet, with one focusing on renewable energy and the other on energy savings from utility-operated or utility-sanctioned programs. Renewable Portfolio Standards passed the Senate in 2003 and 2005 and Efficiency Standards have been introduced by several Representatives and Senators. There may also be opportunities to enhance support by combining these two policies.
2. Extensions to energy efficiency tax incentives enacted in 2005: Most of these provisions expire at the end of 2007 and prospects for extension are good. These provisions include incentives for high-efficiency homes, commercial buildings, appliances, and heating and cooling equipment.
3. Oil savings targets: There is broad agreement that the U.S. should improve the efficiency of cars, trucks, and other oil-consuming equipment but disagreement on which policies are best. To address this logjam, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives have drafted legislation establishing steadily growing oil targets, and directing the present and future administrations to develop and implement plans for meeting these targets, with regular reporting to Congress and revisions to plans if actual savings are not on track to meet the targets.
4. Consensus appliance and equipment efficiency standards: ACEEE has negotiated several consensus agreements with equipment manufacturers on specific energy efficiency requirements for their products. And negotiations on additional products are underway. The Energy Policy Act of 2006 included 16 such standards, and several more will be ready for enactment in 2007, noted ACEEE.
5. Expanded energy title in the 2007 Farm Bill: Including increased funding for the Section 9006 energy efficiency and renewable energy grant and loan program, and mandated funding for the Section 9005 farm and ranch audit program that has never been funded.