A Real Energy Policy

My local Congressman, Jay Inslee, has introduced an energy policy called the New Apollo Energy Act. It is the kind of visionary policy we really need right now. Look it over and then email your representative and ask them about it.

As you may know, I recently introduced in the House of Representatives the New Apollo Energy Act, H.R. 2828, which seeks to solve, with more tangible long-term results, the problems that H.R. 3893 fails to address.

The New Apollo Energy Act specifically addresses the shortcomings in our current energy policy, where an overwhelming percent of taxpayer dollars goes to oil and gas industries. New Apollo advances a vision for this country's energy future that relies on American technological prowess and can-do spirit, engaging an investment in clean energy that will create millions of domestic jobs - jobs that we are now losing to Japan, Germany and Denmark because the White House has avoided taking a stand on renewable energy policy. Washington State, with its hi-tech infrastructure and historic creativity, is poised to benefit from a clean energy investment. New Apollo envisions an energy policy where America leads the world in clean energy jobs and where an American President will not have to walk hand in hand with the Saudi royal family to lower our energy prices. New Apollo does this at no cost to the taxpayer, as the program is built to be self sufficient.

Key features of the New Apollo Energy Act:

*Clean Energy: New Apollo provides $49 billion in government loan guarantees for the construction of clean-energy generation facilities that will produce power from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, oceans, coal with carbon-sequestration technology, and other sources. The legislation also commits $10.5 billion to research-and-development and investment tax credits for clean energy-producing operations. In addition, it includes a 10-year extension of the current tax credit for electricity generated from clean sources.

* Oil Savings: The boosts for clean energy and efficiency will make it possible to meet New Apollo's call for notable reductions in daily domestic oil consumption -- cuts of 600,000 barrels a day by 2010, 1,700,000 barrels by 2015, and 3,000,000 barrels by 2020. These numbers are estimates of the amount of oil the United States would soon be importing daily from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the entire Middle East, respectively, without a change in current policy.

* Fuel Efficiency: The best way to generate energy is to not waste it, so New Apollo includes incentives for American consumers to drive fuel-efficient vehicles, including tax credits for the purchase of hybrid, alternative-fuel, low-emission advanced diesel, and fuel-cell vehicles. It also provides $11.5 billion in tax credits for the automotive and aerospace industries to develop new fuel efficient automobiles and planes, retool existing plants, and construct new plants to manufacture energy efficient vehicles.

* Global Warming and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: New Apollo enacts a proposal similar to the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act by capping our emissions of greenhouse gases while allowing companies to purchase and trade credits among themselves to ensure the most cost-effective reductions, and funding research to help industries make the shift to cleaner operations. The bill targets one of the biggest greenhouse-gas offenders -- coal -- by providing $7 billion in loan guarantees for the development of clean coal power plants.

* Clean Energy Jobs: New Apollo will close the existing technology gap with foreign competitors by investing billions of dollars in new federal research into advanced clean technologies, and creating a government-funded risk pool to help struggling start-up clean-energy companies commercialize their products. One study by the Apollo Alliance has found that a substantial federal commitment to clean energy could yield up to 3.3 million jobs nationally.

* Renewable Portfolio: New Apollo contains a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring all utilities, by 2021, to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources.

* Energy Transmission: New Apollo creates national net-metering and interconnection standards that allow homeowners who generate clean energy to reduce their energy bills by feeding surplus electricity back into the grid. New Apollo additionally increases regulatory oversight of energy trading markets, which was a problem during Enron's manipulation of the West Coast energy crisis.

New Apollo is revenue neutral, meaning it does not increase the federal deficit. It pays for itself by closing abusive corporate tax shelters and loopholes, and through auctioning off some of the allowances under the carbon dioxide trading program.

Other significant features in New Apollo:

Reducing Petroleum Dependence:

*An alternative fuel vehicle purchase requirement for government agencies.
*Tax credits for the installation of alternative refueling properties.
*Tax credits for the retail sale of alternative fuels.
*A renewable fuels standard set at 8 billion gallons by 2013.
*Modification of the tax credit for qualified electric vehicles.
*Loans for schools to buy high-efficiency vehicles.
*Ethanol-blended gasoline and bio-diesel government agency purchase requirements.

Clean Energy Economy:

*Federal support for the commercialization of carbon sequestration, coal gasification, and low emission coal technologies.

*Tax credits for the installation of minimum emission coal technologies.
*An order for the Secretary of Energy to create a credit for the creation of new electricity transmission lines to receive power from remote clean resources.

*Tax credits for energy efficient recycling and remanufacturing units.
*Requirement that the Secretary of Interior standardize right-of-way requirements for wind projects.
*Requirement that government agencies reduce energy consumption and use clean energy.
*Permanent extension of the Energy Savings Performance Contracts.
*Tradable renewable resource credits for public utilities.
*Establishment of a new energy commission to certify new technologies that qualify for credits under New Apollo.
*Tax credits for distributed energy generation and demand management property in residences and businesses.
*Tax credits for fly-wheel properties.
*Requires new federal buildings to be constructed using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design's (LEED) silver standard for energy efficiency.


*$36 billion in new federal research authorizations for advanced clean technologies, fusion power, and technologies focusing on existing energy sources.

*Federal support for the commercialization of clean technologies.
*Improved coordination of technology transfer activities.
*Establishment of a clean energy technology export program.
*Renewable energy lending requirements for the Export-Import Bank.
*Grants to improve mass transit programs.
*Grants for sewer and water energy improvements.
*Tax credits for the construction of energy efficient homes and commercial properties.

Consumer Protections:

*Funding for LIHEAP and weatherization projects.
*Implementing energy efficiency standards for certain appliances, and provides tax credits for the production of energy efficient appliances.

*Establishing a national energy efficient home mortgage association.
*Requiring the President to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
*Requiring the Secretary of Energy to issue Energy Star regulations for solar water heating devices.

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