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Update on the US Senate Energy Bill, Part 3; 44 Billion Gallon RFS, $10.2 Billion for Lower GHG Coal Projects

Coleman
The conventional and advanced biofuels portions of the original language and the new Coleman amendment. Click to enlarge.

Although the volume of new amendments introduced to the energy bill under discussion on the Senate floor decreased on Friday, there were several major proposals.

An amendment (SA 1612) by Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) proposed an expansion of the renewable fuels standard (RFS) to 44 billion gallons by 2022, with 30 billion of that coming from advanced biofuels—e.g., cellulosic ethanol. The current language in the bill proposes a 36 billion gallon RFS by 2022, with 21 billion of that coming from renewable fuels. Coleman is thus proposing a 43% bump in the production of advanced biofuels over the same timeframe.

The Senator also proposed an amendment requiring a study and report on using higher ethanol blends (such as E15 or E20) nationally. Adoption of an E20 standard would move the US closer to the Brazilian “gasohol” model.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) sponsored an amendment (SA 1614) that would establish a $200-million grant and $10 billion loan program for coal projects that deliver annual lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20% below conventional baseline emissions and that capture and store at least 75% of the CO2 that otherwise would have been released to the atmosphere.

Senator Tester also put forward an amendment (SA 1617) that would require establishing a regulatory plan for the long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) proposed (SA 1615) establishing an office of scientific research within NOAA to study abrupt climate change. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) proposed a series of tax breaks for oil and gas exploration, production and refining (SA 1618-1622).

The Senate approved by voice vote SA 1524—a “Sense of the Senate” approving of the “20 by 25” goal (20% of US energy from renewable sources by 2025).

A table of the current status of amendments follows. Amendments with numbers in bold have been accepted; amendments with number stricken through have been rejected, tabled or withdrawn.

Proposed Amendments to Senate Energy Bill (amended H.R.6)
12 June 2007
Amendment Sponsor(s) Title and/or notes
SA 1505 Inhofe and Thune Gas Price Act
  • Streamlines permitting process for “domestic fuels facilities” including refineries and alt fuel plants;
  • Establishes a R&D and evaluation program for Fischer-Tropsch diesel and jet fuel “as a mechanism for reducing engine exhaust emissions”
  • Provide financial assistance to commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol or CTL facilities on BRAC or Indian lands, with a Federal contribution of 80-100%
  • Updating the hydrocarbon reserves classification system.

  • Defeated 13 June by Yea-Nay vote of 52 to 43. Record Vote Number: 210
    SA 1506 Stevens and Landrieu Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
  • Establishes minimum lumens per watt standards for lightbulbs of not less than 30 by calendar year 2013 and not less than 45 by calendar year 2018.
  • Authorizes a 6-year, $60-million lighting technology research and development program.
  • SA 1508 Bayh, Brownback, Lieberman, Coleman, Salazar, Lincoln, Cantwell, Kerry, Dodd,  Kohl, Reed, Collins, Nelson Oil Savings Plan and Requirements. Directs the appropriate agencies of the Federal government to develop a plan to reduce oil consumption by:
  • 2,500,000 barrels of oil per day on average during calendar year 2016
  • 7,000,000 barrels of oil per day on average during calendar year 2026;
  • 10,000,000 barrels per day on average during calendar year 2031

  • SA 1508 agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 63 - 30. Record Vote Number: 209.
    SA 1509
    SA 1552
    Craig Geologic Mapping Reauthorization. Provides $640 million over 10 years (fiscal years 2007 through 2016) for updating and expanding geologic mapping of the US.
    SA 1510 Cochran Increased Capacity of Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Raises the SPR to 1.5 billion barrels from current 1.0 billion barrels.
    SA 1511 Murkowski Study of CAFE Standards for Commercial Trucks. NHTSA to conduct study of the anticipated economic impacts and fuel saving benefits that would result from vehicle fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy duty vehicles, as specified in the main body of the bill.
    SA 1512 Murkowski Broadens the potential uses of funding proposed to support renewable energy projects in Section 215 of the bill.
    SA 1513 Murkowski and Stevens Adds personnel hiring language to the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act.
    SA 1514 Kerry and Sanders Renewable Portfolio Standard.
  • 5% minimum for 2009 through 2012
  • 10% minimum for 2103 through 2016
  • 15% minimum for 2017 through 2019
  • 20% minimum for 2020 through 2030
  • SA 1515 Sanders, Clinton, Kerry, Biden, Salazar Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training. Establishes a public program  and funds other initiatives that provide training for jobs that are created through renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives with authorized funding of $100 million per fiscal year.
    SA 1515 agreed to in Senate by unanimous consent.
    SA 1516
    SA 1533
    Menendez Evaluate the effect the laws (including regulations) limiting the siting of privately owned electric distribution wires on and across public rights-of-way might have on the development of combined heat and power facilities.
    SA 1517 Menendez Expands the definition of “State”in the Energy Conservation and Production Act (42 U.S.C. 6862) to include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
    SA 1518 Menendez Prohibits oil and gas leasing in the Mid-Atlantic and North Atlantic planning area of the Outer COntinental Shelf.
    SA 1519 Kohl, Specter, Leahy, Grassley, Biden, Snowe, Feingold, Schumer, Coburn, Durbin, Lieberman, Boxer, Sanders NOPEC—“No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2007”. Makes it illegal under the Sherman Act for foreign cartels to limit production of oil, natural gas or petroleum products, or to set or maintain prices.  The Attorney General can sue.
    SA 1520 Cardin Establishes a “National Commission on Energy Independence” for the US.
    SA 1521 Biden Compact Fluorescent Lighting Grant Program. Establishes a program for grants to States for the distribution of medium base compact fluorescent lamps to households in the State.
    SA 1524 Salazar, Grassley, Obama, Harkin, Hagel, Lugar, Feingold, Clinton, Casey, Nelson (Nebraska), Brownback, Kohl, Kerry, Johnson, Tester, Cantwell, Thune, and Cochran Sense of Congress. By 2025, a US goal of 25% of total energy consumed should be from renewable resources, while the US continues to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed, and fiber.
    Adopted by voice vote, 15 June.
    SA 1525 Sanders Standards for solar hot water heaters.
    SA 1526 Thune Extension and modification of renewable electricity production credit.
    SA 1527 Thune Extension of the ethanol tariff. Extends the tariff on imported ethanol through 2010.
    Proposed Amendments to Senate Energy Bill (amended H.R.6)
    13 June 2007
    Amendment Sponsor(s) Title and/or notes
    SA 1528 Bingaman, Domenici
  • Active coordination of the different Nanoscience Centers to maintain a globally competitive posture in energy storage systems for motor transportation and electricity transmission and distribution.
  • Any industrial participant active in a Energy Storage Research Center is to be granted the first option to negotiate with an invention owner, at least in the field of energy storage technologies, nonexclusive licenses and royalties on terms that are reasonable, as determined by the Secretary.
  • SA 1529 Bingaman and Domenici Annual reports on the quantity, type, and cost of each lighting product purchased by the Federal Government.
    SA 1530 Pryor Promotion of energy-saving performance contracts.
    SA 1531 Pryor Energy and water evaluations and efficiency measures for the Federal government.
    SA 1532 Thune Fast-track (180-day) approval of higher blends of ethanol for use in non-flex fuel vehicles for vehicles that receive a satisfactory review based on a study (also in the bill).
    SA 1534
    SA 1565
    Nelson Biofuels Investment Trust Fund.
    SA 1535 Cardin, Mikulski, Doss, Kerry, Reed, Kennedy, Whitehouse Siting, construction, expansion and operation of LNG terminals. Federal government cannot approve or disapprove an application for an LNG terminal without the express concurrence of each State affected by the application.
    SA 1537 Bingaman, Cardin, Reid, Salazar, Snowe, Durbin Renewable Portfolio Standard. A different timeline table and different end percentage:
  • 2010 through 2012: 3.75%
  • 2013 through 2016: 7.50%
  • 2017 through 2019: 11.25%
  • 2020 through 2030: 15.0%
  • SA 1538 Domenici, McConnell, Craig, Bennett, Crapo, Graham, Murkowski “Clean” Portfolio Standard. Amendment to SA 1537.
  • 2010 through 2012: 5%
  • 2013 through 2016: 10%
  • 2017 through 2019: 15%
  • 2020 through 2030: 20%

  • Defines clean energy to include nuclear generation, carbon capture and sequestration, energy efficiency or demand response programs.
    Tabled by a vote of 56-39, 14 June.
    SA 1539 Akaka, Murkowski, Snowe Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion. development of power generation from waves, tides and currents.
    SA 1540 Carper, Biden Study of Offshore Wind Resources. 
    SA 1541 Smith, Cantwell, Murkowski, Wyden National Ocean Energy Research Centers.
    SA 1542 Brownback Agricultural Byproduct Use Exposition. A trade-show for new products, such as plastics, carpets, disposable dishes, and cosmetics, produced by the entities from agricultural byproducts.
    SA 1543 Bayh, Brownback, Lieberman, Coleman, Salazar GEM Flex-Fuel Vehicle. Expands definition of flex-fuel vehicle to include M85 (85% methanol, 15% gasoline). Gasoline-E85-M85 = GEM.
    SA 1544 Casey Energy Security and Corporate Accountability Act of 2007. Targeted at oil companies.
    SA 1545 Enzi Some escape clauses for the Renewable Fuels Standard. (Drives price of food up, impacts deliverability of goods, etc.)
    SA 1546 DeMint Limitations on legislation that would drive up average fuel price for autos.
    SA 1547
    SA 1586
    Tester, Bingaman, Reid, Murkowski, Stevens, Salazar, Akaka, Sanders, Snowe National Geothermal Initiative Act of 2007. Declares a national goal to achieve at least 15% of total electrical energy production in the United States from geothermal resources by not later than 2030. Establishes an initiative to achieve that goal. $515 million from 2008 through 2012; sums as necessary 2013 through 2030.
    SA 1548 Durbin Legislative branch fleet compliance with the efficiency sections of the bill.
    SA 1549 Kohl, Feingold, Burr Use of highly energy-efficient commercial water heating equipment in Federal buildings.
    SA 1550 Wyden, Chambliss Weighing Intelligence for Smarter Energy Act of 2007. Director of National Intelligence to submit to Congress a report on the long-term energy security of the United States.
    SA 1551 Cantwell Federal Standby Power Standard.
    SA 1556 Lincoln, Domenici, Pryor, Craig, and Landrieu Clarifies regulatory scheme for the application, transportation, or storage of livestock manure or poultry litter as energy or fuel production feedstock.
    SA 1557 Klobuchar, Snowe, Bingaman National Greenhouse Gas Registry. Establishes a national greenhouse gas registry.
    SA 1558 Obama Health Care for Hybrids. Federal government will reimburse automakers up to 10% of the total health care costs for retired autoworkers, with the caveat that at least 50% of the reimbursement is put research, development production and worker retraining for fuel-efficient vehicles. Program ends in 2017.
    SA 1559 Hagel Energy-related Regulatory Reform.
    SA 1560 Hagel Tax incentives for the production and conservation of energy. Includes special measures for cellulosic ethanol plants, ethanol pipelines, and coal-to-liquids facilities.
    SA 1561 Kohl Establishes a Strategic Refinery Reserve. Refinery reserve represents excess production capacity that can be used in emergencies. Reserve refineries can be new or reopened closed refineries.
    Proposed Amendments to Senate Energy Bill (amended H.R.6)
    14 June 2007
    Amendment Sponsor(s) Title and/or notes
    SA 1562 Dorgan and Craig Domestic Offshore Energy Security Act.
  • Opens up travel to Cuba in connection with hydrocarbon exploration and extraction.
  • Expands the area for offshore oil and gas development, moving the limit to 45 miles from the coasts of Florida.
  • SA 1563 Dorgan, Craig and Kerry Support for installation of E85 pumps at retail stations.
    SA 1564 Tester Energy-Efficient Schools. Establishes a program to improve the energy-efficiency of, and use of renewable energy in, school buildings.
    SA 1566 Warner Authorizes governor of Virginia to petition for offshore gas exploration and extraction 50 miles off the coast.
    Rejected by Yea-Nay vote of 43-44, 14 June.
    SA 1567 Bingaman and Domenici Demonstration program for cost-effectiveness of advanced insulation.
    SA 1568 Bingaman and Domenici Coordination of planned outages of refineries.
    SA 1569 Bingaman and Domenici Amends technical criteria for proposed Clean Coal Power Initiative.
    SA 1570 Inhofe, Thune and Craig Pollution audits and reports. Requires detailed bi-annual audit of any funds of more than $100,000 disbursed by National Pollution Funds Center.
    SA 1571 Hagel Facilitate information sharing about and accelerate development of energy-related research.
    SA 1572 Salazar, Bayh, Brownback, Lieberman, Coleman, Cantwell, Lincoln, Clinton, Biden, Klobuchar, Durbin Electric-Drive Transportation Program. Promotes the development of plug-in electric vehicles, deploying near-term programs to electrify the transportation sector, and including electric drive vehicles in the fleet purchasing programs.
    Agreed to by voice vote, 14 June.
    SA 1573 Bingaman, Klobuchar, Reid, Cardin, Salazar Amendment to amendment SA 1537 (Renewable Portfolio Standard).
    SA 1574 Lautenberg Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Establishes a Federal Emissions Inventory Office within the EPA.
    SA 1575 Voinovich, Carper and Inhofe Amends loan guarantee authority for commercial technology.
    SA 1576 Inhofe Program to accelerate use of geothermal heat pumps at General Services Administration facilities.
    SA 1577 Martinez Establishes a number of penalties and sanctions applied to persons who contribute to Cuba’s development of the undersea hydrocarbon resources off of its north coast.
    SA 1578 Menendez, Lautenberg and Dole Modifies amendment SA 1566 to require consent by states within 100 miles of the coastal waters of Virginia.
    Withdrawn, based on rejection of SA 1566.
    SA 1579 Obama National Low-Carbon Fuel Standard. Establishes a full lifecycle-based low-carbon fuel standard requiring reduction in average lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy of the aggregate quantity of fuels:
  • 5% reduction from baseline by calendar year 2015
  • 10% reduction from baseline by 2020
  • Reductions post 2021 are on a five-year basis and progressively lower than, but not higher than, previous years.
  • SA 1580 Bayh, Brownback, Lieberman, Coleman, Salazar Adds methanol to listing of renewable fuels.
    SA 1581
    SA 1607
    Gregg, Feinstein, Sununu, Kyl, Ensign Elimination of ethanol tariff.
    SA 1582 Martinez Encourages biofuel blenders to share credits with pipeline and common storage facilities.
    SA 1583 Martinez Accelerates waiver procedure for fuel blends.
    SA 1584 Martinez Categorization of certain blends of gasoline of not more than 3.7% oxygen, by weight, such that the gasoline is equivalent to E-10 gasoline.
    SA 1585 Lautenberg and Menendez State liability for costs incurred by other States as a result of oil or natural gas spill from offshore production.
    SA 1587 Brown Renewable Energy Innovation Manufacturing Partnership Program. Makes grants to eligible entities for use in carrying out research, development, and demonstration relating to the manufacturing of renewable energy technologies.
    SA 1588 Brown Development of a carbon labelling system for goods sold in the US.
    SA 1589 Brown Directs DOE to give financial assistance preference to higher-education for-profit partnerships involved in the development of liquid crystal, photovoltaic, and wind technologies.
    SA 1590 Brown Adds “institutions of higher education, and nonprofit hospitals” to local government buildings for receiving assistance.
    SA 1591 Brown Preference given to existing and former DOE facilities and sites for the conduct of projects and activities.
    SA 1592 Brown Emissions standards for watercraft and small spark-ignition engines.
    SA 1593 Isakson Amendment to alternative average fuel economy standard for low-volume manufacturers and new entrants.
    SA 1594 Durbin Study of establishment of a refined petroleum product reserve.
    SA 1595 Kohl Set asides for auto- and component-makers employing less than 500 people.
    SA 1596 Kohl Study of adequacy of refining infrastructure.
    SA 1597 Inouye and Dorgan Study of the adequacy of transportation of domestically-produced renewable fuel by railroads and other means of transportation.
    SA 1598 Inhofe Adds Gas-to-Liquids and Coal-to-Liquids to renewable fuels standard.
    SA 1599 Inhofe Study on modernization of the hydrocarbon reserves disclosures classification system of the Commission to reflect advances in reserves recovery from nontraditional sources (such as deep water, oil shale, tar sands, and renewable reserves for cellulosic biofuels feedstocks).
    SA 1600 Inhofe Evaluation of Fischer-Tropsch Transportation Fuels. Originally part of SA 1505, which was rejected.
  • Research and demonstration program to evaluate the air quality benefits of ultra-clean Fischer-Tropsch transportation fuel, including diesel and jet fuel;
  • Evaluate the use of Fischer-Tropsch transportation fuel as a mechanism for reducing engine exhaust emissions;
  • Submit to Congress recommendations on the most effective uses and associated benefits of those fuels with respect to reducing public exposure to exhaust emissions.
  • SA 1601 Inhofe Enables sale of additional credits by the Federal government to refineries, blenders, and importers at a price of $1.00 per gallon of gasoline equivalent to meet obligations under the renewable fuels standard.
    SA 1602 Inhofe Transitional assistance for farmers who plant dedicated energy crops for a local cellulosic ethanol facility.
    SA 1603 Brown Amends performance goals for Federal government:
  • 20% reduction in petroleum use by 2015 (2005 baseline)
  • 10% per year increase in use of alternative fuels by 2015 (2005 baseline)
  • Fleet shall be 15% hybrid or flex-fuel by 2015 and 20% by 2020
  • SA 1604 Schumer Updates state building energy efficiency codes and standards.
    SA 1605 Schumer State requirements for energy efficiency.
    SA 1606 Schumer In the absence of Federal determination or a standard for energy-efficiency of an appliance, no State standard to be pre-empted.
    SA 1608 Corker Expands definition of clean fuel:
  • not derived from crude oil
  • as compared to conventional gasoline, lifecycle emission reductions of 2 or more air pollutants
  • a 20% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional gasoline
  • SA 1609 Thune Report on electric transmission corridors.
    Proposed Amendments to Senate Energy Bill (amended H.R.6)
    15 June 2007
    Amendment Sponsor(s) Title and/or notes
    SA 1610 Cardin, Mikulski, Dodd, Kerry, Reid, Kennedy, Whitehouse, Snowe Expands definition of “Affected State” with respect to the siting, construction, expansion and operation of a liquefied natural gas terminal.
    SA 1611 Coleman Broadens requirements for cellulosic ethanol facilities receiving guarantees and gives priority to projects to be carried out in communities with a population of 25,000 or less residents.
    SA 1612 Coleman Requires report on effectiveness and practicability of national use of higher ethanol blend (such as E-15 or E-20) to achieve the most efficient expansion of ethanol use.
    SA 1613 Coleman Renewable Fuel Standard.  Sets expanded targets for renewable fuel standard along with more aggressive component requirement for advanced biofuels as part of that RFS.
  • 2008: 8.5 billion gallons
  • 2009: 10.5 billion gallons
  • 2010: 12.0 billion gallons
  • 2011: 12.6 billion gallons
  • 2012: 14.2 billion gallons
  • 2013: 15.8 billion gallons
  • 2014: 18.4 billion gallons
  • 2015: 23.0 billion gallons
  • 2016: 26.0 billion gallons
  • 2017: 29.0 billion gallons
  • 2018: 32.0 billion gallons
  • 2019: 35.0 billion gallons
  • 2020: 38.0 billion gallons
  • 2021: 41.0 billion gallons
  • 2022: 44.0 billion gallons
  • The advanced biofuel components required by the amendment are:
  • 2012: 1.0 billion gallons
  • 2013: 2.0 billion gallons
  • 2014: 4.0 billion gallons
  • 2015: 8.0 billion gallons
  • 2016: 11.0 billion gallons
  • 2017: 14.0 billion gallons
  • 2018: 17.0 billion gallons
  • 2019: 20.0 billion gallons
  • 2020: 23.0 billion gallons
  • 2021: 27.0 billion gallons
  • 2022: 30.0 billion gallons
  • SA 1614 Tester, Byrd, Rockefeller, Salazar and Bingaman Grant and Loan Program for Lower-GHG Coal Projects.
  • Projects must deliver annual lifecycle GHG at least 20% lower than conventional baseline emissions
  • At least 75% of the CO2 that otherwise would be released must the captured and stored
  • Total reduction in carbon emissions not less than 75%
  • $20 million maximum grant per project for up to 10 projects ($200 million total)
  • $10 billion loan program
  • SA 1615 Collins, Cantwell, Snowe, Murray Abrupt Climate Change Research Program. Establishes an office within NOAA to carry out a program of scientific research on abrupt climate change.
    SA 1616 Durbin and Carper Requires State and metropolitan planning organization to publish a report describing use of Federal funds to reduce gasoline demand, lower household transportation expenditures, and increase mass transit.
    SA 1617 Tester Regulatory plan for the long-term geologic storage of carbon dioxide. Requires the President acting through the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality to develop a plan that includes elements such as performance standards; minimum sequestration times without leakage; maximum acceptable leakage; and certification standards.
    SA 1618 Inhofe Allows 100% tax deduction of expenditures for qualified 3D seismic data.
    SA 1619 Inhofe Eliminates taxable income limit on percentage depletion for oil and natural gas produced from marginal properties.
    SA 1620 Inhofe Increases tax exemptions for independent producers and royalty owners.
    SA 1621 Inhofe Increases phaseout threshold credit for producing oil and gas from marginal wells.
    SA 1622 Inhofe Expands the definition of “small refiner” from 75,000 to 100,000 barrels per day.

    Comments

    Lucas

    I don't know how they can do this.

    None of them are smart enough or intelligent enough to be able to understand 1% of what they need to know to craft a bill that makes sense.

    What we will eventually wind up with will be a monster, designed and constructed by committee.

    God take pity on us all ...

    stomv

    All bills come from committees.

    Furthermore, they don't need to understand the chemistry or physics of oil exploration, ethanol production, or solar power to understand their role. They don't write the bills -- staff and constituents write the bills. I think you'd be surprised how much many congresscritters do understand when it comes to this stuff. I've spoken with about a half dozen at various political events, and all but one really understood the global warming, labor, general environmental business, and political tradeoffs of many different choices.

    jcwinnie

    Keep It Simple, Senate... Cars, Coal and Concrete

    Richard

    get ready for way higher gas prices due to congressman gone wild, refinery investment will all but dry up.

    gr

    Lucas,
    Reason for the more intelligent such as yourself to become a CongressCritter and explain it to them.

    Richard,
    fiscal responsibility in most sectors precludes investment in defunct technology - which petro-refinery is. Other hand, there is nearly unlimited upside for the alt-fuels/energy investor.

    What appears missing are alt-energy investment tax credits. And a viable new consumer tax credit for alt-fuel vehicle purchases.

    Cervus

    GR:

    Gasoline isn't obsolete yet and will not be for quite some time. We certainly can't fill our transportation fuel needs with corn ethanol and cellulose tech is still a dubious proposition. Ergo, we will need that refinery capacity.

    Meanwhile, if refinery investment does dry up because of the expectation alt fuel will magically fill the void, the public will scream and shout at the oil companies for not expanding capacity as gas prices spiral higher and higher.

    Rock and a hard place, no?

    Richard

    GR I'll check back and see if your whinning about the cost of the defunct local gas prices you have to pay in about 4yrs.

    JMartin

    GR, Cervus: Between better profits for limited refinery capacity, environmental and NIMBY limits, and an outlook for alternative fuels and vehicles, we are unlikely to see much increase in refining in this country. People may scream and shout -- hopefully they will also buy more fuel-efficient cars.

    Rock and a hard place? Time for the hard decisions.

    Cervus

    JM:

    They'll do more than scream and shout. They'll demand that their government protect them from "unreasonably high" gas prices. See the House proposal to impose a very poorly-worded law against price gouging. There are enough people out there who would not understand what is going on that would invite more government intervention and compound the problem--many will suspect another Enron-style engineered shortage. And they could even be right.

    Cervus

    Here's the problem, laid out in this MSNBC article.

    Ben

    What use is more refineries if there not enough oil to refine?

    wintermane

    The refineries are to prevent a natural disaster from squeezing the supply as much.

    The oil companies wanted to build them and still do oddly enough but they dont want to act like they do so congress spends money encoraging em to.

    Oil wants stable profitable prices.. high enough to finance alternates they are working on but not so high as to force congress to do something messy to thier bottom lines.

    Also oil companies figure if they waited long enough someone might even want a refinery near them instead of all the nimby mess.

    JMartin

    Cervus: You may be right about screaming and shouting over gas prices, but I expect there will also be a huge outcry over food prices. Just saw a piece on TV about food price inflation due to use of corn for ethenol. When the public hears that and sees the prices, both Congress and the Auto companies will hear about it.

    Cervus

    JM:

    Corn prices are up to about $4.30 a bushel as of tonight. But the politicians want more corn ethanol. We really, really need to freeze the amount we get from corn and either buy more from Brazil or take the plunge and start building cellulosic production facilities. I think some Congressmen are aware of the problem, but it's hard to stop a rock this size once it's rolling downhill.

    gr

    Richard,

    In two years I am expecting the local fuel Coop to be selling E85 for which I will trade in my 4 banger petro for a flex fuel vehicle. In four years I would hope to be driving a PHEV, preferably the VOLT, spending zero dollars on petro and happily amortize the investment against $.066 kWh electric rates at night.(BC, North American market). Oh yeah, I'll also be continuing to bike to local destinations while physically able.

    I have no problem with enabling current refinery capacity to maintain rate stability - since refineries operate now with no buffer against cartel hikes, natural disaster or operational failure/interruption - hence the "reason" for gouging hikes. The capacity exists - the petro game is convincing the public it does not.

    My point is simply the sooner consumers buy efficiency and alt-fuel capable vehicles - the less we are held hostage by gasping big oil that sees money coming off the table at an alarming rate.

    gr

    Cervus,

    agreed that the reluctance to roll out cellulosic is a bottleneck that must be addressed by THIS energy bill. We are well aware that corn is a limited transitional ethanol feedstock.

    What is somewhat annoying is the mystification of these technologies. The facts are you take biomass like fruit, veggie or husk matter, crush it, add yeast to start fermentation and in 50-60 hours you got mostly ethyl alcohol which is combustible in ICEs. People have been fermenting fruit/veg for 20,000 years, eh what?

    Granted cellulosic requires added steps to break down the husk/wood stock - but hey, are we paying for military to control foreign lands to drill 3 mile holes in deserts and arctic terrains, for oil we transport by multi-billion dollar pipelines to billion dollar tankers to billion dollar refineries - threatening the biosphere at each step - to produce gasoline that we transport to distribution, then to retail and pump into vehicles that cause it to explode in a terrifying contraption called the internal combustion engine??? The preceding qualifies for a clinical definition of "energy insanity" IMHO.

    The facts are that distilling ethanol even with the entire cellulosic input cycle factored, is a FAR less costly & complex process than oil exploring/ drilling/ refining. $2.00 E85 is a plausible price point.

    And if the liquid fuel proponents want to stay viable - they will need to maintain those price points since $.10 or even $.20 kWh electricity looms very large on the horizon. And combusting anything looks very primitive by comparison.

    Aussie

    Again legislators are trying to pick winning technologies in advance. Look how far hydrogen went. An alternative approach may be to say next year's GHG target is X tons from all sources. There will be no per-gallon subsidies but there may be research grants for new concepts. The 'winning' energy mix could be something no-one thought of.

    Ben

    No, my question was why build more refineries if oil peaks, and the evidence is clear that it will peak soon (if it has not already) there won't be enough oil to match demand let alone fill existing refineries to 100% capacity.

    PHEV and EV seem like a good answer: we have plenty of wasted off-peak electricity because most power plants can't vary there output efficiently. If most cars went EV for 40 miles that would take out ~50% of gasoline (25% of oil).

    gr

    Ben,

    OPEC exists solely to limit well production so that per barrel rates remain high. OPEC can pump at near capacity for another thirty years without flinching. Our suggestion is rapid adoption of alt-fuels and infrastructure forces refineries and cartels to stabilize pricing at lower competitive rates due to lower demand.

    There are several important issues missing from this giant legislation - a few off the top are:

    1) A comprehensive analysis of renewable and "clean" resources on a State/geographic basis with the goal to map a fair 30 year alt energy adoption plan.

    2) Intensive competition to implement neutralization and or recycling of nuclear (fission) waste materials open to all sectors with national contracts awarded to winning technology.

    3) Grants and incentives for micro-algal biodiesel and algal H2 production.

    4) One year firm target for adoption of UL or other safety standard for ethanol infrastructure pumps & equipment.

    5) Bio-butanol included in alt-fuel definitions.

    6) Firm GHG limits for new coal plants.

    7) Intensified effort by trade, diplomacy and technology transfer to include China and India in Kyoto-type emission targets.

    The overall energy solution is a mix of technologies, lifestyle conservation, and mindset adoption that emphasizes a re-balance of human activity with the natural biosphere. This legislation is only a first, awkward step toward the final goal of a Type 1, sustainable planet.

    odograph

    Wow, what a list. Great work compiling that.

    I'm particularly interested in:

    SA 1545, Enzi - Some escape clauses for the Renewable Fuels Standard. (Drives price of food up, impacts deliverability of goods, etc.)

    or perhaps that in combination with:

    SA 1546, DeMint - Limitations on legislation that would drive up average fuel price for autos.

    I hope the 1545 "escapes" come at reasonable prices and that 1546 isn't going to close off GW options.

    shigley

    Unfortunately, automobiles are only the tip of the iceburg where energy requirements are concerned. Once you factor in all land, sea and air modes of transportation, including commercial, governmental services, (Federal, state, county and local) recreational, military, individual automobiles, trucks etc, the requirements are mind-boggling. And we must include all heavy construction equipment, mass transit, etc.
    In my opinion, our need for gasoline/diesel worldwide will increase, so fefinery capacity is, and will be critical for decades.
    I wish it were otherwise, but it isn't.

    gr

    shigley,

    90 percent of the systems you list utilize ICE and liquid fuels. There is already R&D progress on a bio-kerosene replacement for jet turbines. What appears to be a daunting massive problem becomes less so with categorization of needs.

    Consumer transportation followed by industry xportation, military, governmental. Each category leverages the next as they convert to new resources.

    Government fleet conversion to alternative fuels is a key to driving manufacturing volume up to lower consumer pricing. Just a step at a time.

    shigley

    gr-
    Can't disagree with you that all levels of government must lead the way in the use of biofuels (along with commercial fleets) to get the numbers up. Then hopefully the demand for refined gasoline will be replaces with "refined" biofuels, over time. But what about infrastructure? E85 seems to be the closest to volition, but try finding E85 in a local service station in the Northeast, although tens of thousand of E85 compatible vehicles are on the road.
    Of course we haven't discussed stationary heating, cooling, lighting, power generating, and hundreds of other uses of refined fuels that are not tied to the automobile industry.
    That's a lot of biofuel processing and we have yet to settle on the most efficient feedstock, or, the processing and distribution methods and energy consumption.
    I hope you're right, and that biofuels are years, not decades away.

    DONALD TUCKER

    WHAT IS THE SENATE & HOUSE OF REPRESANTATIVES DOING ABOUT GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH TO PRODUCE ELECTRIC ENERGY

    James Hamilton

    Where does this list come from? Where can one find the text of specific amendments?

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