Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Are we surprised?? The gutting of the energy bill ...

As I noted yesterday, Congress is working on an "Energy" bill that's in response to GW's "National Energy Policy". According to the NY Times, the bill is getting worser and worser.

Provisions to Curb Oil Use Fall Out of Energy Bill (By CARL HULSE, Published: July 26, 2005, NYTIMES.COM)

Note that Congress has an artificial deadline of delivering a bill to Pres. Bush by August 1. I suppose that's so they can preserve the hallowed August Shutdown, allowing them all to take their vacation plans.

Working furiously to try to strike a deal on broad energy legislation, Congressional negotiators on Monday killed two major provisions aimed at curbing consumption of traditional fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal.

House members rejected an effort to incorporate a plan passed by the Senate to require utilities to use more renewable energy like wind and solar power to generate electricity. They also defeated a bid to direct the president to find ways to cut the nation's appetite for oil by one million barrels a day.

... But Republican opponents of the plan said the fuel savings target could lead to unpopular restrictions like mandatory car pools and put too much responsibility for achieving the goal in the hands of the president.

... Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the senior Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said his plan to require power plant operators who now rely on coal, oil and natural gas to increase their use of renewable fuels was a low-cost, market-driven approach to cutting demand for fossil fuels and easing air pollution.

Under the proposal, which has repeatedly passed the Senate, utilities would have to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity through renewable fuels by 2020.

"It would reduce our dependence on traditional polluting sources of electricity," Mr. Bingaman said.

And, to rub the salt in the wound of these contradictions ...

China is planning to produce 10% of its power from wind energy by 2020. Hmm, China can do what the U.S. cannot? What does this say?

In Search of a New Energy Source, China Rides the Wind (By HOWARD W. FRENCH, Published: July 26, 2005, NYTIMES.COM)

From the distance the turbines look almost forbidding, looming very large on the horizon like some clawed space invaders. But one must get up close, very close, to hear the slightest hum as their blades spin, harvesting power from the wind.

Apart from the random bleating from a huge herd of sheep, the loudest noise in this open, rolling grassland of Inner Mongolia is the buzz from the transformers that dot the plain, collecting electricity from this small army of 96 metallic monsters with their spinning blades.

Blessed with vast, empty countryside and a seemingly permanent stiff breeze blowing across the steppes, the buzz of transformers is growing steadily louder in this far northern province as investors pour money into the wind farm. It is already huge, and may soon be getting much larger.

... By 2020, starting from a minuscule base that it has established only recently, China expects to supply 10 percent of its needs from so-called renewable energy sources, including wind, solar energy, small hydroelectric dams and biomass like plant fibers and animal wastes.

... "We have huge goals for wind power development," Wang Zhongying, director of China's Center for Renewable Energy Development. "By 2010, we plan to reach 4,000 megawatts, and by 2020 we expect to reach 20,000 megawatts, or 20 gigawatts." If anything, Mr. Wang said, these targets are too conservative, and may be easily surpassed.