Skip to main content

The Republican Energy Bill

lugar The Republicans put up an alternative to the Kerry-Lieberman energy bill yesterday via Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). For starters, it’s much smaller (112 vs. 987 pages) and has fewer titles (4 vs. 7) than Kerry-Lieberman. It is called the Practical Energy and Climate Plan Act of 2010 vs. The American Power Act. We don’t know if Lugar will have a nice logo drawn up for his bill, as Kerry and Lieberman did for theirs. Lugar has posted a video of his press conference introducing it. See that on his home page, along with a lot of links.

Let’s see what the bill offers:

  • No provisions for mandatory reductions in carbon emissions – that is, no cap-and-trade or carbon tax. Lugar has ideas on how to achieve carbon emission reductions, so hold tight.
  • The bill heavily stresses energy efficiency, especially as regards cars, trucks and light vehicles.
  • And buildings, too. The bill proposes $2 billion to DOE to use as a basis for loans, loan guarantees and other financial tools to help homes and businesses retrofit for energy efficiency.
  • It cuts back on foreign oil imports by encouraging domestic oil production. It’s silent (at least on our first read) on off-shore oil drilling.
  • Coal plants do not need to introduce new technology as long as they close by 2018.
  • Biofuels get a big push, especially algae-based fuel and especially not grain-based fuel. Lugar proposes $250 million per year to DOE over the next five years to seed this effort.

We’re not completely sure we understand the clean energy provisions, but the bill proposes that states can include “clean coal,” nuclear energy (but see below) and energy efficiencies (presumably a national standard) toward carbon emission reduction goals.

Those goals are 15 percent by 2015, incrementing to hit 50 percent by 2050. How different states would accommodate this is where we’ll need further explanation, as the states will start off in drastically different places based on their current electricity production.

---

Oh, and what about nuclear energy? There’s strikingly little, with only two mentions in the bill.

Lugar proposes $36 billion in additional loan guarantees for 2011 (for a total of $54 billion), equal to the amount requested in the 2011 DOE budget request.

Only new nuclear plants qualify in the clean air goals specified above. This is also true of hydroelectric plants, though (apparently) uprates to existing hydro count but not uprates to existing nuclear plants. (By uprates, we mean adding capacity.) We don’t get this one at all – it’s as if using existing nuclear energy to further reduce carbon emissions is cheating or too easy.

So that’s it. Do read the whole thing – if we’ve misread a section, let use know in comments and we’ll correct.

Bills offered by the minority traditionally do not gain much traction, but this one may buck that common wisdom a bit by de-stressing climate change issues and anything that could be called a “carbon tax.”

---

Energy Secretary Steven Chu sent a letter to Sen. Lugar about his bill. There’s this:

I appreciate your ideas for reducing America's oil dependence - which has taken on greater urgency as a result of the BP oil spill.  I also commend your focus on energy efficiency, which as you have noted is the fastest, cheapest route to our energy and climate change goals.  Even as we focus on efficiency, we also need a broad approach that includes building the next generation of nuclear power plants, deploying technologies to burn coal more cleanly, significantly expanding renewable power generation and a host of other clean energy technologies.

That’s pretty positive. And this:

I continue to believe that to fully capitalize on these opportunities we need comprehensive legislation that puts a price on carbon and makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy.

Oops! Well, Lugar probably expected that.

Sen. Richard Lugar presents his bill.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I guess that someone that represents Gary, Indiana (official A/C recirc mode city of America) would be pushing more coal.

Who would have thunk that the Democrats would be pushing new nuclear, and the Republicans would be relatively silent? This sounds more like the evil parallel universe Congress.

What happened to all of that Republican enthusiasm during the State of the Union address? I am a Republican, and I still have that enthusiasm.

Me thinks that Lugar needs to go back to the drawing board.
SteveK9 said…
This is not a serious plan.

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…