Senate Meeting on Energy Bears Watching

By May 1, 2007Energy, Global Warming

We note this meeting of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:

On Wednesday, May 2, the full committee will mark up an original bill, with text drawn from pending energy legislation: S.987 on biofuels and transportation; and S. 1115 on energy efficiency; and S.731 and S.962 on carbon capture and storage. The meeting will adjourn at noon and reconvene at 2:30 p.m., if necessary. (Dirksen 366, 10:00 a.m.)

That’s the Senate energy bill being put together, which may well include some provisions for energy efficiency and conservation, carbon sequestration and other programs that could diversify and strengthen U.S. energy security.

The National Journal is also reporting that Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, may also introduce language requiring that 15 percent of the nation’s electricity production be derived from renewable energy sources by 2020. That’s problematic. Mandated percentages disrupt market forces, in effect limiting supply of the non-favored fuels, which in turn increases the cost of fuels overall.

In the 109th Congress, the NAM opposed as one of its “key votes” a similar provision, Senator Bingaman’s amendment to the energy bill, H.R. 6, that would have required utilities to generate 10 percent of all electricity from renewable sources by 2025 or pay fees to the Energy Department. (It was approved 52-48 on June 16, 2005, but removed by conference committee.) In The NAM Voting Record Guide, we wrote.

The NAM opposed the amendment, noting that its aggressive timetables were unrealistic for most regions of the country and would ultimately act as a tax on electricity for both consumers and industry.

The argument still stands.