House Passes Biggert Alternative Energy Bill
The U.S. House of Representatives tonight unanimously approved a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Il-13th) that promotes biofuels, solar, wind, clean coal, hydrogen and other technologies to end the U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy.
By a voice vote, the House passed H.R. 6203, the Alternative Energy Research and Development Act of 2006, which will accelerate the development and widespread use of a broad portfolio of advanced, renewable, clean energy technologies.
"We cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of complacency whenever the price of gasoline drops," said Biggert. "We have to face the fact that we cannot meet today's energy needs - much less tomorrow's - with yesterday's energy infrastructure and technology. We must reduce our reliance on expensive natural gas and Middle Eastern oil, and instead encourage the use of clean, efficient alternatives."
Ø Supports the development of advanced biofuel technologies by authorizing R&D and demonstration on ethanol production from cellulosic feedstocks, or feedstocks other than corn.
Ø Focuses R&D efforts on technologies for hydrogen storage onboard vehicles.
Ø Accelerates development of advanced solar photovoltaic power technology by authorizing photovoltaic R&D and demonstrations.
Ø Supports the development of technologies that minimize the cost and environmental impact and maximize the efficiency of harnessing the power of the wind.
Ø Recommends that the DOE to carry out a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application on geothermal energy, hydropower, co-generation, and distributed energy production as authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Ø Authorizes plug-in hybrid electric vehicle R&D and demonstration programs to develop a vehicle that can go 20 to 40 miles without using gasoline.
Ø Provides incentives for the design and construction of energy efficient buildings - today's buildings consume 39 percent of our nation's primary energy and 70 percent of its electricity, more energy than any other sector of the economy, including industry and transportation.
Ø Establishes a cooperative extension program for energy and efficiency technologies, patterned after the successful agricultural extension programs that aided farmers in incorporating advanced technologies in food production.
Ø Allows the DOE to establish energy technology and energy efficiency education and outreach programs that improve energy supply and improve the efficiency of energy utilization.
Ø Requires the Secretary of Energy to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a detailed study of, and make further recommendations on, the October 2005 NAS recommendation to establish an Advanced Research Projects AgencyEnergy (ARPA-E).
Ø Supports research on coal methanation, or converting coal into pipeline quality gaseous fuels.
Ø Supports development of materials that can be added to biobased fuels and ultra low sulfur diesel fuels to make them more compatible with existing fuel storage and delivery infrastructure.
Ø Authorizes R&D using biomass to make bioplastics and other products.
"High natural gas prices and the recent spike in gasoline prices serve as a stark reminder that the path to energy independence is a long and arduous one, and nobody should expect our nation's energy problems to disappear overnight," Biggert said.