A significant number of the recommendations in vice president Cheney’s National Energy Policy Development Group report will require congressional action. The White House has spelled out which those will be. Briefly, the national energy policy will: •Modernise and expand the energy infrastructure – ie build a better grid system – and ‘tear down regulatory barriers that hurt consumers by preventing them from having lower energy bills’. Bush also intends to encourage the building of a new gas pipeline from Alaska, a prospect triggered by large natural gas discoveries in the North Slope area, but not necessarily economically feasible.

•Modernise and increase conservation by increasing funding for energy efficiency programmes and create suitable tax credits.

•Diversify energy supplies by ‘increasing environmentally friendly production of domestic resources’ – ie drill for more oil, dig up more coal – expand renewables production and safely expand the use of ‘cheap, clean and safe nuclear energy’. Fully exploiting the oil resource would include drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (leasing legislation was vetoed in 1995) and Bush proposes to open up the area to ‘environmetally responsible leasing’. The justification for all this is that even with increases in energy efficient usage of fuel, and a degree of conservation, the production shortfall by 2020 could be as much as 30 per cent of demand, a figure that implies a realistic assessment of voluntary conservation prospects. For renewables, the budget looks for tax credits amounting to 0.5 cents added to the existing 1.7 cents per kWh for wind and biomass, and a new 15 per cent tax credit for purchased solar generating or heating equipment. Similar tax credits are proposed for ethanol based fuels, and landfill gas; and to boost the rush towards the use of hydrogen, “an exciting new fuel source … that can be made (sic) from water”. Bush supports reauthorisation of the Hydrogen Energy Act.

•Improve and accelerate environmental protection – ie strengthen anti-pollution technologies. The policy does not advocate strengthening legislation.

On the basis that ‘conservation and efficiency are important elements of a sound energy policy’ the president has directed the DoE to undertake a review of existing energy efficiency and renewables development programmes to ensure future budget allocations are ‘performance based and modelled as private public partnerships’. Bush wants measures that work and he wants them funded far more by industry. However, he has proposed a change in the tax system, namely shortening the depreciation life for CHP projects, to encourage combined heat and power, and short term tax credits to encourage the purchase of new tech transportation – hybrid or fuel cell vehicles.

Report confirms global warming


More Relevant


Sign up to the newsletter: In Brief

Your corporate email address *
First name *
Last name *
Company name *
Job title *
Vist our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Thank you for subscribing

View all newsletters from across the Progressive Media network.