President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act today, passing the legislation that Congress approved last week on a 314 to 100 vote. Some of the bill’s major stipulations are setting higher fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks, increasing ethanol production fivefold, and planning to phase out the incandescent bulb in the next 10 years. In addition to increasing the energy efficiency of residential and commercial lighting, the law will require appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers, and refrigerators to use less energy.
Critics argue that the bill focuses heavily on energy efficiency without calling for more diverse renewable energy production. However, the renewable electricity standard (RES) should have been set at a high 15% (by 2020). This means that utilities would have been required to generate 15% of electricity from renewable sources, which include solar, wind, biomass, and tidal. 4% of this could have been achieved through energy efficiency. Unfortunately, this stipulation was stripped from the original bill.
While the bill is said to strengthen solar and wind tax credits and provide new incentives for their production, such as renewable energy bonds for providers that generate electricity from renewable sources, specific focus is aimed at ethanol production. Barbara Boxer commented for the New York Times, “It could have been stronger. It’s really unfortunate that we didn’t have the renewable electricity standard or the incentives for wind and solar. But we’ll fight for those another day.”
- Does the passage of the stripped-down Energy Bill mean that momentum is lost for renewables?
- Bush signs bill boosting fuel standards