Note: Synopsis based on Our Energy Policy Foundation staff review of Congressional committee and office summaries, third party analyses, and media summaries. Synopsis intended solely for the purposes of generating discussion.

Renewable Electricity Standard

  • Would require electric utilities to meet 6% of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by 2012, and 20% by 2020. Qualifying renewable energy sources are solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, marine and hydrokinetic energy, certain biofuels, wastewater-treatment gas, landfill gas, coalmine methane, and post-1992 hydropower projects.
  • Up to 1/4 of the 2020 requirement (or 5%) could be met through energy efficiency improvements. If a state deems that its utilities cannot meet its targets, the efficiency component could be increased to 8% and the renewable component decreased to 12%.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions

  • Would require heavy-emission industries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels along the following timeline: 3% by 2012; 17% by 2020; 42% by 2030; more than 80% by 2050.
  • Emissions reductions would be accomplished using a cap-and-trade mechanism. The cap would be in effect by 2016. The bill covers emissions from 85% of the overall economy, including electricity producers, oil refineries, natural gas suppliers, and energy-intensive industries like iron, steel, cement, and paper manufacturing.
  • Initially, approximately 85% of emissions credits would be provided to emitters for free and approximately 15% would be auctioned. According to an EPA analysis, a permit to emit one ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent would be worth approximately $11 to $15 (in 2005 dollars) in 2012, rising to approximately $25 to $28 (in 2005 dollars) in 2025.
  • Regulated companies would be allowed to purchase carbon offsets to meet a portion of their required emission reductions, which is expected to reduce compliance costs.
  • Revenue from the government’s sale of emissions permits would be used for a variety of projects, including offsetting heightened energy costs for low- and moderate-income households, preventing deforestation, supporting research and development of advanced clean-energy and energy efficiency technologies, training the emergent clean energy workforce, etc.

Emergent Energy Technology Investment

  • Would invest in new clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, including energy efficiency and renewable energy ($90 billion in new investments by 2025), carbon capture and sequestration ($60 billion), electric and other advanced technology vehicles ($20 billion), and basic scientific research and development ($20 billion).
  • Would create within the federal government a Clean Energy Deployment Administration to provide loans and loan guarantees to spur private investment in energy technology.

Energy Efficiency

  • Would establish new energy efficiency standards for lighting products, commercial furnaces, and other appliances.
  • Would establish new energy efficiency standards for buildings, which would require 30% improvement by 2010 and 50% improvement by 2016.