The Energy Bill – Part 2: Summary in Laymen's Terms

My focus for today’s blog is to clearly lay out the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. I think, before we talk about the pros and cons of this act, any reader should understand what this bill is exactly.

There are four titles (or sections) to the bill. I will address each one individually. I will only be able to give you a brief summary because the bill is a thousand page document that I could go into great depth about. That will probably bore most readers, so I’m going to give you what you need to know and leave out all the rest.

Title 1 – Clean Energy

Renewable energy is the key here. The main focus of this title is to ensure that by 2012 six percent of the nation’s electricity is coming from renewable sources (like solar, wind or geothermal) and will rise to twenty five percent in 2025. There is an understanding that fossil fuels will still need to be used to produce some electricity, which leads to promotion of technologies that can capture carbon emissions and funnel them into the ground instead of into the air. This will help keep the coal industry alive. Along with these measures, the title also calls for the mass production of clean fuel vehicles and the government’s aid to any group who plans to implement this sort of production. This title calls for the development and use of smart grids (electricity will be supplied through digital technology which is supposed to be cheaper and cleaner). Finally, it provides federal refunds in order to expand clean energy.

Title 2 – Energy Efficiency

This title covers building, transportation, and industrial efficiency. It calls for all three of these areas to set new standards for their divisions. New buildings will have to meet qualifications set by green standards. I’m assuming it would be something like all new buildings would have to be LEED certified. There is also an option for anyone who lives in a mid seventies or older manufactured home to get a rebate for a new energy-star qualified manufactured home. The transportation sector must develop ways to make vehicles more efficient and make emission requirements stricter. Finally, industries have to find ways to become more energy efficient as well.

Title 3 – Reducing Climate Change Pollution

This is probably the most confusing section of this bill. This section calls for a market-based program that will curb the amount of pollution industries and companies produce. Each company that produces over 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide gas (or any other greenhouse gas) will be required to obtain permits for each ton of gas produced a year. These permits can be looked at almost like money. The companies will be able to borrow against and/or save these allowances for later years. The idea is that each year the government will allow fewer and fewer permits to be distributed to companies. The hope is that this will help curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Title 4 – Transitioning to a Clean Energy Economy

This is the section to ensure everyone we will be able to pull out of the recession with the implementation of this bill (whether or not we actually will is a different matter). It outlines the jobs that this bill will create and the ways the government will “rebate” US companies who are competing against overseas industries who make the same product with non-renewable energy and offer it at a smaller price.
This is just an overview of the draft that was taken to the House of Representatives. I want to know your thoughts on this. Is this going to be good for the environment? What about the economy? What is this going to mean for individuals? Is this a good or bad thing? I would love to hear your thoughts. Next week I will give both sides of the main parties in government.

If you would like to get more information on the Energy Bill follow the links below.

General Summary

Title Summaries (more detailed)

The whole draft

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