|Energy Bill and Energy Tax Provisions|
|There has been a flurry of action on energy legislation in the U.S. Congress. The Senate version of a comprehensive energy bill (CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 – H.R. 6) passed the Senate on June 21, 2007. It did not include an energy tax provision. The House of Representatives passed their version of the energy bill (New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act – H.R. 3221) on August 4, 2007. The House energy tax bill was added to this legislation as well. Issues in this bill important to HPBA are:
Qualified Energy Efficiency Assistance Bonds – This provision would create a new category of tax credit bonds to provide states with funds to implement long-term programs that will provide consumers with low-interest loans and grants for energy-efficient property and efficiency improvements to existing homes. We were not included in the first version; attempts are being made to include our industry.
Grant Program – This provision would require the Secretary of Energy to establish a grant program for universities to research and develop renewable energy technologies. Priority is given to universities in low income and rural communities with proximity to trees dying of disease or insect infestation.
RESA Study – Language was included directing the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study of the renewable energy system rebate program for homes and small businesses, described in section 206-c of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The study would require a plan for the program if it were funded, and determine the minimum amount the program would need to be viable.
Regional Standards – A negative item included in both energy bills is a provision would allow the Secretary of Energy to establish regional standards for space heating and air conditioning products. Follow the link to a side-by-side comparison of the language in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate energy bills.
When the Congress reconvenes after the August recess a conference committee will be convened to merge the U.S. Senate and U.S. House energy bills into one. This process is fluid and there are still opportunities to address these issues.