Hydrogen-Station Homing on Honda FCX
Australian Medical Association Backs Mandatory Biofuels Use

Energy Bill Passes House, Heads for Senate

Select funding initiatives from the Energy Bill.

The Conference version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (which the House passed today 275–156) is a head-wracking 1,724 pages of policy, programs, pork—and the occasional hint or glimmer of a shift in focus and attitude.

In general, the bill (a) incents more production through generous subsidies to the energy industry, but with some increasing emphasis on renewables (b) invests heavily in long-term, high-ticket technologies (hydrogen, fusion, clean coal, next-generation nuclear) (c) does essentially nothing for the short- to medium-term to reduce the consumption of petroleum.

That’s not to say that there are no positive aspects to the bill. It significantly increases the amount of money targeted toward renewables. It significantly ups the ante on the hydrogen front (which, admittedly, is not a benefit for some). It supports and funds the development of forest biomass as an energy feedstock, and supports the development of cellulosic ethanol.

It even has minor funding provisions for plug-in hybrids, and for the exploration of V2G systems (Vehicle-to-Grid, in which excess electricity stored in an electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell vehicle could flow back into the grid.

But it ignores the most obvious, simplest, and probably least overall expensive option for decreasing petroleum use: increasing fuel economy requirements. Aggressively supporting the development of hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicles. (There is funding for those in the bill, but relatively minor.)

It lost, along the way, provisions that mandated targeted reductions in petroleum consumption in years to come. And it sidesteps any targeted reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

(As a bit of a surprise, it also does not include drilling in ANWR. Nor does it indemnify the makers of MTBE, the targets of more than 150 lawsuits.)

What follows is a rough, initial snapshot of some of the provisions relevant to transportation. (Dollar figures with a “+” indicate that the bill specifies funds “as needed” for later years of a specific program. The funding for each item is spread over differing ranges of years.)

Select Provisions from the Energy Bill
SectionInitiativeFunding ($mil)
208 Sugarcane Ethanol Program (targeted at Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Hawaii) $6
210 Improving forest biomass for electric energy, heat and transportation fuel $550
417 Development of Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuels from Illinois basin coal $85
706 Developing flex-fuel hybrids/plug-in flex fuel hybrids $40
721 Advanced Vehicle pilot program for alternative fuel, fuel cell or hybrid vehicle programs $200
731 Fuel cell bus development and demonstration program $50
741 Clean School Bus Program (alternative fuels, ethanol, biodiesel, ULSD) $110
742 Diesel truck retrofit program $100+
755 Conservation through bicycling program $6.2
756 Reduction of idling program (including locomotives) $140
757 Biodiesel engine testing program (biodiesel from different sources, and blended with ULSD) $25
758 Development of ultra-efficient aircraft engines with a 10% increase in fuel efficiency and a 70% decrease in NOx emissions on takeoff and landing $250
782 Mandated levels of federal and state fleet procurement of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles starting in 2008 and running through 2015 $100+
791–797 Programs for the reduction of diesel engine emissions $1,000
801–805 Programs to develop the hydrogen supply; develop fuel cell technology; and fund demonstrations $3,230
915 “Secondary Electric Vehicle battery use”—V2G study
801–805 Programs to develop the hydrogen supply; develop fuel cell technology; and fund demonstrations $3,230
942 Production incentives for cellulosic biofuels—1 billion gallons per year by 2015, with cost parity to diesel or gasoline $250
801–805 808 Programs to develop the hydrogen supply; develop fuel cell technology; and fund demonstrations $3,230
1346 An increase in tax credits from $0.50 to $1.00 per gallon renewable biodiesel (made from a thermal depolymerization process of waste rather than from the transesterification of seed oil
1512 Conversion assistance for cellulosic biomass, waste-derived ethanol and other approved renewable fuels $750
1514 Advanced biofuels research $110

There are other tax credits and subsidies I’ve missed in this initial list.




So a GOP Congress is showing signs of "getting it" -- which says to me that if the Dems take some seats in 06 and a few more in 08, that the future energy bills might start to show real funding for immediate relief on the electric grid and in automobiles with green alternatives.

Josh Narins

Nice work on the digging up of program totals.

I think it was a serious error on your part to include 5 year totals, as you did for the Section 801-805 group.

This is a pre-election bill.

Since that was so easy, want to go back and see how these programs were funded in previous appropriations :) ?

I can help you graph them over time, easily enough.

I did this without any trouble, a graph of oil usage by sector for 1949-2003.

Josh Narins

Hey, what's up?

Are you bad at adding, or am I?

On page 786 of the PDF I see a lot of numbers, but they don't total 3.23 billion, they total 1.92 billion.

Nothing else in sections 801 through 805 list any money totals at all.

What did I miss?

It would be neat if I exposed some sort of scam, pseudo-green website :)


I included the funding for demonstrations.

$1,060 million for supply.

$860 million for fuel cell technology.

$1,310 million for demonstrations.

Total = $3,230 million

My bad, though, demonstrations are specified in Section 808. :-)


i think the only way to look at it is to step back and say this level of oil/gasoline prices stimulated this kind of energy bill.

higher prices (which i think we'll get) should stimulate another.

but you know, the most aggressive responses we can imagine (vehicle renewal fees based on mpg?) are not going to happen without a real sense of emergency ... and we aren't going to get that without expensive gasoline.

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