Thursday, December 06, 2007

House passes OK energy bill, solar promoted

Millions of solar rooftops should be a bigger part of US energy independence. Bulldozing the desert for huge solar and wind projects is not 'green'.

WASHINGTON -- Today, by a vote of 235-181, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass an energy bill with provisions to increase fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to 35 miles per hour by 2020, require utilities to acquire at least 15 percent of their power from renewable sources, and increase incentives for renewable energy like solar, wind and biofuels.

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ7) voted in favor of the measure and says:

“This bill will utilize both carrot and stick approaches to increasing our country’s use of clean, renewable energy. On the one hand, the bill will provide incentives for families and businesses to use energy efficient appliances, install solar on homes and office buildings, and purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles. But the bill will also force utilities and automakers to begin to address their impact on the environment and on our security.

“While I support many of the bill’s provisions, I am disappointed that this version deletes important provisions approved by the Natural Resources Committee that would have made modest improvements to the 2005 Energy Policy Act, a bill which originated in secret talks between energy industry lobbyists and Vice President Cheney. Provisions which were deleted would have helped ensure balanced management and protection of natural resources in the quest for energy development on public lands. Other provisions would have restored the public’s right to participate and comment on energy development proposals and a provision to help America’s fish and wildlife, public lands, coasts, and oceans adapt to global warming.

“Without these provisions, the bill is not all it could be, however, given the extent to which it does go to promote clean, sustainable energy; I was willing to offer my support.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to restore protections of our natural environment in the development of energy sources.”

A key element of the bill was tax legislation authored by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ8) that will help solar energy become more affordable for homeowners and businesses.

“Harnessing the sun’s power offers us one of the best solutions to the great energy challenges confronting our country at this critical time,” said Giffords, a member of the House Science and Technology Committee. “It will help us create a clean, independent energy future.”

In the Arizona delegation, all Dems voted for the bill, all Republicans voted against it.


Anonymous said...

This should be good news, but they will NOT just put solar on rooftops. No, No No, they have plans to blanket our public lands with miles and miles of solar panels and windmills. In California alone, energy companies have proposed so called "green energy" solar arrays on over 300,000 acres of open desert. This will disrupt native plants, wildlife and destoy our view. Many of the green enviro groups intend to look the other way on this. In Nevada, with the blessing of Harry Reid, the BLM has proposals to blanket almost all of the BLM land in southern Nevada with this "green" assaualt on our public lands. There is nothing green about trashing the desert to fight climate change. The democrats are just going to let big energy companies hord all the green energy so we can buy it from them. Put these solar and wind farms on rooftops, old mines and other disturbed areas.

I sure hope some enviros have the guts to fight some of these proposals...

Daniel R. Patterson said...

The above comments are critical, and true.

I share these concerns.

It is much more eco-friendly to produce solar energy on rooftops in cities (where the power is used) than clearing desert habitat for huge solar and wind industrial power facilities that will continue to rely on the unreliable and inefficient power grid.

Big utilities want to keep a stranglehold on power production and sales, and therefore are favoring continuation of the outdated big distant powerplant model, and sadly, many politicians are supporting this view.

At the end of 2006 in Tucson it got harder and more expensive for homeowners to put solar panels on their roofs when TEP ended option 2. Now TEP and other big energy corps. want to build a new giant solar plant in the Arizona or Nevada desert.