ProQuest www.csa.com
 
About CSA Products Support & Training News and Events Contact Us
 
Quick Links
>
>
  
Discovery Guides Areas
>
>
>
>
>
 
  
e-Journal

  Environmental Policy Issues  

Overview

Key Citations

Web Sites

Source

Contact Editor
 
Congressional Research Service Reports
Redistributed as a Service of the NLE*

97031: Renewable Energy: Key to Sustainable Energy Supply

Fred Sissine
Resources, Science, and Industry Division

May 27, 1999

97031

CONTENTS

SUMMARY

Debate in the 106th Congress over the funding and direction of renewable energy programs will likely focus on the FY2000 spending request, the Administration's Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI), and proposals for restructuring the electricity industry. Energy security, a major driver of federal energy efficiency programs in the past, is now somewhat less of an issue. Although the Persian Gulf remains volatile and oil imports make up one-fifth of the balance of trade deficit, low oil prices and uninterrupted supply have dampened concern about the potential for import disruptions.

On the other hand, worldwide emphasis on environmental problems of air and water pollution and global climate change, and the related development of clean energy technologies in western Europe and Japan especially, have emerged as important influences on energy efficiency policymaking.

The Clinton Administration views renewable energy as the key part of its energy supply policy, both for environmental and technology competitiveness reasons. Accompanying the FY1999 budget request, CCTI sought $6.3 billion of tax incentives over the next 5 years to "encourage energy efficiency and the use of cleaner energy sources," plus a number of renewable energy programs, notably through the Department of Energy (DOE).

For FY2000 request for request for DOE's Renewable Energy Programs is $398.9 million, which is $62.9 million, or 19% more than the FY1999 appropriation. This includes $21.1 million more for Photovoltaics, $19.2 million more for Biomass, $10.8 million more for Wind, and $10 million more for Solar Program Support. (See Table 1 at the end of this brief.)

At the 1998 Fourth Conference of Parties (COP-4) to the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change in Buenos Aires, the Administration signed the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol on climate change. It calls upon the United States to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 7% below the 1990 level during the period between 2008 and 2012. If the agreement is ratified, the Administration projects that renewable energy could play a significant role in achieving emissions reduction.

The electricity production tax credit for wind and certain biomass systems is scheduled to expire on July 1, 1999. The Administration's CCTI proposed a five-year extension of this credit, as does H.R. 750 and S. 414. Debate over credit extension is expected to intensify as the expiration date approaches.

Several electricity industry restructuring bills propose to eliminate the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which has been key to the growth of renewable power facilities. To ensure a role for renewables' in this industry, the Administration-proposed restructuring legislation includes a renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS), public benefits fund (PBF), and an information disclosure requirement that supports "green" pricing and marketing of renewable power. Some states and electric utility companies have already instituted such measures. Debate is likely to focus on whether there should be a federal role in restructuring generally and in creating measures for renewables specifically.

MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

On July 1, 1999, the energy production tax credit for wind and certain biomass equipment will expire. H.R. 750 and S. 414 would extend this credit. On March 26, 1999, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed a bill to restructure the electric power industry, "Comprehensive Electricity Competition Plan," that includes three policies to support renewable energy. On February 1, DOE released its FY2000 budget request, which seeks $398.9 million for renewable energy, which is $62.9 million, or 19% more than the FY1999 appropriation. This includes $21.1 million more for Photovoltaics, $19.2 million more for Biomass, $10.8 million more for Wind, and $10 million more for Solar Program Support. (The budget request documents are available on DOE's web site.)

BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Renewable Energy Concept

Renewable energy is derived from resources that are generally not depleted by human use, such as the sun, wind, and water movement. These sources of natural energy can be converted into heat, electricity and mechanical energy in several ways. There are some mature technologies for conversion of renewable energy such as hydropower, biomass, and waste combustion. Other conversion technologies, such as wind turbines and photovoltaics, are already well-developed, but have not achieved the technological efficiency and market penetration of which they are expected to be ultimately capable. Although geothermal energy is produced from geological rather than solar sources, it is often included as a renewable energy resource and this brief treats it as one. Commercial nuclear power is not considered to be a renewable energy resource. (For further definitions of renewable energy, see the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's web site information on "Clean Energy 101" http://www.nrel.gov/ceb.html.)

Contribution to National Energy Supply

Renewable energy contributes a significant share of national energy supply. According to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA's) Short-Term Energy Outlook, April 1999, renewable energy resources supplied about 6.7 Q (quadrillion Btu's or quads) of the 94.4 Q the nation used in 1998, or about 7.2% of national demand. Declining hydroelectric availability led to a 5% drop in 1998 and is projected to result in a further 2% drop in 1999. Electricity production supplies more than half of renewable energy use. Of this, most is provided by utility hydropower, but a growing share is provided by nonutility generators. Industry accounts for most of the other use, supplied primarily by biofuels. EIA's 1999 Annual Energy Outlook projects that current policies would yield a 0.8% average annual increase through 2020, resulting in a 22% total increase in renewable energy production. This would amount to about 6.8% of the projected 119 Q total demand in 2020. (Detailed breakdowns of renewable energy use appear in EIA's Renewable Energy Annual 1998 and Renewable Energy Issues and Trends 1998.)

Role in Long-Term Energy Supply

Our Common Future, the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development found that "Energy efficiency can only buy time for the world to develop 'low-energy paths' based on renewable sources, which should form the foundation of the global energy structure during the 21st century." Although many renewable energy systems are in a relatively early stage of development, they offer the world "a potentially huge primary energy source, sustainable in perpetuity and available in various forms to every nation on Earth." It suggests that an R,D&D program of renewable energy projects is required to attain the same level of primary energy that is now obtained from a mix of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy resources.

The Agenda 21 adopted at the 1992 United Nation's Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) concludes that mitigating urban air pollution and the adverse impacts of energy use on the atmosphere -- such as acid rain, global warming, and climate change -- requires an emphasis on "clean and renewable energy sources." A 1996 report by the President's Council on Sustainable Development, Energy and Transportation, calls for increasing the share of renewable energy in total U.S. energy supply to 12% in 2010 and 25% in 2025.

History

The oil embargo of 1973 sparked a quadrupling of energy prices, massive economic shock, and the establishment of a comprehensive federal energy program to help with the nation's immediate and long-term energy needs. During the 1970s, the federal renewable energy program grew rapidly to include not only basic and applied R&D, but also joint federal participation with the private sector in demonstration projects, commercialization, and information dissemination. In addition, the federal government instituted market incentives, such as business and residential tax credits, and created a utility market for non-utility produced electric power through the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (P.L. 95-617).

The subsequent failure of the oil cartel and the return of low oil and gas prices in the early 1980s brought much of the federal program down but, from 1972 through 1993, Congress consistently supported a broader, more aggressive renewable energy program than any Administration in office. Lacking a sustained, long-range policy from the Administration, Congress first took a major initiative in 1974. Until 1994, Congress led policy development and funding through legislative initiatives and close reviews of annual budget submissions. FY1995 marked a noteworthy shift, with the 103rd Congress, for the first time, approving less funding than the Administration had requested. Driven by budget deficit concerns and a distrust of federal interventions in market processes, this shift was accelerated by the 104th Congress which approved 23% less than the Administration request for FY1996 and 8% less for FY1997. However, funding turned upward again during the 105th Congress. (A detailed description of DOE programs appears in DOE's FY2000 Congressional Budget Request, DOE/CR-0061, v. 2, February 1999.)

From FY1973 through FY1998, the federal government spent about $11.7 billion (in 1999 constant dollars) for renewable energy R&D. Renewable energy R&D funding grew from less than $1 million per year in the early 1970s to over $1.3 billion in FY1979 and FY1980, then declined steadily to $136 million in FY1990. Spending rose from FY1991 to FY1995, declined in FY1996 and FY1997, then rose again in FY1998, reaching $275 million in 1999 constant dollars.

This spending history can be viewed within the context of DOE spending for the three other major energy R&D programs: nuclear, fossil, and energy efficiency R&D. From FY1948 through FY1972, in real 1997 dollars, the federal government spent about $22.4 billion for nuclear (fission and fusion) energy R&D and about $5.1 billion for fossil energy R&D. From FY1973 through FY1996, in 1999 constant dollars, the federal government spent $43.2 billion for nuclear, $21.1 billion for fossil, $11.7 billion for renewables, and $8 billion for energy efficiency. Total energy R&D spending from FY1948-FY1998 reached $111.5 billion, including $66 billion, or 59% for nuclear, $26 billion, or 23%, for fossil, $12 billion, or 11%, for renewables, and $8 billion, or 7%, for energy efficiency.

Tax Credits

Residential solar credits and the residential and business credits for wind energy installations expired on December 31, 1985. However, business investment credits were extended repeatedly through the 1980s. Section 1916 of the Energy Policy Act (EPACT, P.L. 102-486) extends the 10% business tax credits for solar and geothermal equipment indefinitely. Also, EPACT section 1914 created an income tax "production" credit of 1.5 cents/kwh for electricity produced by wind and closed-loop biomass systems. This credit expires on July 1, 1999.

Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act

The Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (P.L. 96-917) requires electric utilities to purchase power produced by renewable power facilities. Under PURPA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) established rules requiring that electric utilities purchase power from windfarms and other small power producers at an "avoided cost" price based on energy and capacity costs that the utility would otherwise incur by generating the power itself or purchasing it elsewhere. However, to receive avoided cost payments, each facility must file for, and obtain, qualifying facility (QF) status from FERC. EIA's Renewable Energy 1998: Issues and Trends (p. 4-5) reports that, by the end of 1996, nonutility renewable power capacity reached 17,200 MW, of which 12,600 MW came from QFs. These renewable power facilities generated nearly 90 billion kwh, of which 69 billion kwh was produced by QFs. Thus, in 1996, QFs accounted for about 73% of nonutility renewable power capacity and about 76% of nonutility renewable power generation. QFs provided about 1.8% of national electric capacity and about 2.2% of national electricity generation.

DOE's Strategic and Performance Goals

DOE delivered its final Strategic Plan to the Committee on September 30, 1997. Renewable energy objectives and strategies appear under strategic goal #1, "Energy Resources." In the DOE Annual Performance Plan for FY2000, objective ER-1, regarding energy supply disruption vulnerability, includes a goal (ER1-4, p. 10-12) to "develop alternative transportation fuels to reduce projected oil imports. It lays out two performance goals and measures for FY2000 that involve converting agricultural wastes to ethanol and demonstrating alternative fuel vehicles in selected applications. Also, objective ER-2, regarding competitive electricity, includes a goal (ER2-3, p. 15-17) to "develop renewable energy technologies and supporting policies capable of doubling non-hydroelectric renewable energy generating capacity by 2010." Further, it lays out seven specific performance measures and goals for FY2000 that involve solar roofs, distributed concentrating solar, biomass co-firing with coal, wind testing and design, and solar super energy saving performance contracts (Super-ESPCs).

Production Tax Credit

EPACT Section 1914 established an income tax "production" credit of 1.5 cents/kwh to be paid to businesses for electricity produced by wind and closed-loop biomass systems. The credit applies to energy produced from new facilities for the first 10 years. This credit expires on July 1, 1999. The Administration's CCTI proposed a five-year extension of this credit, as does H.R. 750 and S. 414. Supporters of the credit extension contend, for example, that expiration of the credit, combined with uncertainty created by electric utility restructuring, may dampen wind energy facility installation. In contrast, a 1997 Cato Institute report, Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not Green, finds that:

...new government subsidies for favored renewable technologies are likely to create few environmental benefits; increase electricity-generation overcapacity in most regions of the United States; raise electricity rates; and create new "environmental pressures" ...

Debate over legislation to extend the credit is likely to intensify as the expiration date approaches.

Also, it should be noted that the Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) funded by DOE is a different incentive that was created with the parallel purpose of encouraging renewable energy use by state and local governments and by non-profit electric cooperatives.

FY2000 DOE Budget

The Appendix to the Budget of the United States' Government FY2000 (Chapter on "Department of Energy," p. 397) says the FY2000 budget for the Renewable Energy Program " ... will contribute to strengthening the Nation's energy security, providing a cleaner environment, enhancing global sales of U.S. energy products, and increasing industrial competitiveness and federal technology transfer. The solar and renewable energy program is a major component of the Administration's activities to address global climate change."

DOE's FY2000 budget request seeks $398.9 million for renewable energy (including $41 million for electric/storage programs), which is $62.9 million, or 19% more than the FY1999 appropriation. This includes $21.1 million more for Photovoltaics, $19.2 million more for Biomass, $10.8 million more for Wind, and $10 million more for Solar Program Support. (The budget request documents are available on DOE's web site.) In the State of the Union address, President Clinton emphasized concern about global warming and proposed a new "clean air fund to help communities reduce greenhouse and other pollutants, and tax incentives and investment to spur clean energy technologies ... "

In DOE's request, Photovoltaics would grow by $21 million, including $9 million more for research and $12 million more for collector development. Biopower would increase by $7.5 million and Biofuels would increase by $12 million. Under Biofuels, a new Integrated R&D Program would be funded at $6 million. This Program aims to develop technologies that integrate feedstocks, equipment and end products to support the creation of a "broad-based bioenergy industry." An $11 million increase for Wind Programs would support the "Wind Partnerships for Advanced Component Technologies" and other research and testing efforts. A key motivation is to increase U.S. competitiveness with European nations in growing global markets for wind energy.

A new $2 million Electricity Restructuring Program would provide technical assessments of policy concepts and programs such as renewable portfolio standards (RPS), public benefits funds, consumer information and disclosure provisions, green marking programs, and distributed generation concepts. Also, a new Competitive Solicitation Program would support cost-shared field verification projects, including data on generation and system outages, to address market barriers arising from a lack of cost and operational information. This Program would combine and re-focus funding from two programs: Renewable Indian Energy Resources and Federal Buildings/Remote Power. (Details of the FY2000 DOE request appear in Table 1, at the end of this brief.)

For FY1999 renewable energy programs, the Omnibus Appropriations bill raised the final appropriation to $336 million, a $66 million increase. However, $24 million of this increase reflects a decrease in use of prior year balances. Of the remaining $42 million actual increase in budget authority, Biofuels programs grew by $15 million, Photovoltaics increased by $8 million, International programs were boosted by $5 million, and Biopower programs grew by $4 million.

Climate Change

The Administration has identified renewable energy as a significant part of the strategy for curbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. This is reflected in its CCTI proposals for increased renewable energy R&D spending, tax credits, and other policy mechanisms at DOE and other agencies. On March 25, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on Economic Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol. It focused on contending views of potential costs to implement the 7% reduction in U.S. greenhouse emissions called for in the Protocol. Also, EPA, DOE, and EIA testified at the April 14 House Science Committee hearing, Fiscal Year 2000 Climate Change Budget Authorization Request. EIA contended that the CCTI provisions would provide a minimal impact on greenhouse emissions. In contrast, EPA and DOE stressed the urgency of action, noting that CCTI provisions would provide immediate savings in energy, costs, and emissions.

S. 882, introduced April 27, 1999, proposes R&D funding increases for renewable energy and other energy technologies as an alternative to the CCTI. It would provide $200 million per year over 10 years to accelerate development of energy efficiency, fossil energy, nuclear energy, and renewable energy R&D. Through this means, the bill focuses on a long-term strategy for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Use Impact on Climate

Except for biofuels and biopower, wherever renewable energy equipment displaces fossil fuel use, it will also reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, as well as pollutants that contribute to water pollution, acid rain, and urban smog. In general, the combustion of biomass for fuel and power production releases CO2 at an intensity that may rival or exceed that for natural gas. However, the growth of biomass material offsets this release. Hence, net emissions occur only when combustion is based on deforestation. Where the biomass combustion is based on rotating energy crops, there is no net release, and its displacement of any fossil fuel, including natural gas, reduces CO2 emissions.

Human activities, particularly burning of fossil fuels, have increased atmospheric CO2 and other trace gases, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane, and nitrous oxide. If these gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at current rates, global warming might occur through intensification of the natural "greenhouse effect," moderating Earth's climate. Excess CO2 is the major contributor to this effect. (For more information, see CRS Issue Brief 89005, Global Climate Change.)

U.S. fossil energy (coal, oil, natural gas) use currently produces about one-fourth of the world's CO2 emissions. Since 1988, the federal government has accelerated programs that study the science of global climate change and created programs aimed at mitigating fossil fuel-generated carbon dioxide (CO2) and other human-generated emissions. The federal government funds programs for renewable energy as a mitigation measure at DOE, EPA, the Agency for International Development (AID) and the World Bank. The latter two agencies have received funding for renewable energy-related climate actions through Foreign Operations appropriations bills.

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions accelerated after the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) concluded with the signing of the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 (an action program), and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). Agenda 21 promotes the development, transfer, and use of renewable energy technologies, the application of economic and regulatory means that raise prices to reflect environmental and other social costs, and other renewable energy- related measures. The FCCC calls for each nation to develop a strategy for emissions reduction, inventory emissions, and to promote energy and other technologies that reduce emissions.

Electric Industry Restructuring

In response to rising powerplant construction costs and environmental concerns of the 1980s, many states and electric utility companies created incentives and other programs to promote renewable energy as a "clean" or environmentally friendly ("green") alternative for producing electric power. Combined with PURPA provisions for "small power facilities," a new industry of non-utility generators emerged, providing a small but growing share of electric power production. However, after California issued its first proposal for electric industry restructuring in 1994, concerns arose that lower power prices could dampen demand for renewables.

Environmental groups and some energy producers raise concerns that federal efforts to restructure the electric industry could lead to reduced use of "clean" energy resources and increased pollution. They cite the recent decline in state and utility incentives for renewable energy in anticipation of state-based retail competition and other restructuring policies. In Federal Research: Changes in Electricity-Related R&D Funding, GAO reports that spending on renewable energy R&D by states and utilities has dropped rapidly. It also observes that the environmental costs of pollution from supply sources are not fully included in the price of electric power.

The system of mandatory utility purchase requirements and avoided cost payments that evolved under PURPA Section 210 is unlikely to be appropriate in the new industry structures emerging under industry restructuring. As a result, debate has become focused on three policy support mechanisms for renewables: (1) the renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS), (2) use of a distribution charge to create a public benefits fund (PBF) that supports renewable energy and other programs, and (3) voluntary renewable energy purchases by electricity customers through "green pricing" and green power marketing programs.

(1) An RPS sets a minimum purchase requirement (as a percent of energy sales) on retail suppliers that sell power to end-users. Several states have adopted an RPS as part of their restructuring processes, including Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Nevada. At the federal level, to add flexibility in meeting the requirement, individual obligations could be tradeable through a system of renewable energy credits. Some say this tradeable credits system would be similar to the one for marketable sulfur dioxide permits adopted by EPA under the Clean Air Act. RPS proponents include most of the renewable energy trade associations and a limited number of environmental groups. They argue that the policy offers a market-based and administratively simple mechanism. Opponents contend that RPS lacks a cost control; would largely benefit existing, low-cost renewables; and is poorly suited for promoting less mature, higher-cost technologies.

(2) The PBF is based on an electric service distribution surcharge; it is a way to collect funds from customers to support a variety of policies with public benefits, including renewable energy programs. Once collected, a method of distributing the fund must be devised. California was the first state to create an PBF. California's law (A.B. 1890, Article 7) places a charge on all electricity bills from 1998 through 2001 that would provide $540 million for "new and emerging" renewable energy technologies. In early 1998, the Energy Commission adopted final rules for expending the $540 million.

Similar funds have been adopted in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Proponents of PBF include several environmental organizations as well as some electric utilities, industrial customers, and power marketers. They argue that the PBF includes an explicit cost containment, is pragmatic, and if linked to an auction could promote competition. Opponents contend that PBF could be seen as a tax, may be administratively complex and, thus, may not hold onto political acceptability.

(3) Green pricing draws from customers' willingness to pay a premium for renewable energy products due to their environmental benefits. More than 40 utilities have implemented green pricing programs. Also, green power marketing -- the selling of green power in the competitive marketplace -- is underway in the newly competitive markets of

California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) says that the spread of competition in the electric industry will lead to growth in the market for green power services. It estimates that, by the end of 1999, nearly one-fourth of all U.S. electricity consumers will have the option to purchase "green power."

A requirement for fuel source disclosure on customer bills is a key aspect of green pricing and green marketing. Proponents argue that this option focuses on enhancing information and customer choice with a minimum of regulation. Further, it allows suppliers to encourage renewables development at no competitive cost to themselves or to customers uninterested in renewable. Opponents say green pricing transfers the costs for environmental benefits from the general public to a select group, thereby enabling utilities to avoid responsibility and perpetuating a key market failure.

Some argue that the three policies should be viewed as complementary, rather than competitive. In particular, some contend that the PBF is best-suited to funding the pre-competitive early stages of renewable energy technology products -- research, development, and prototype testing -- while the RPS is best-suited to the initial and mature phases of market competition for these products.

Several bills in the 105th Congress included one or more of the three renewable energy policies noted above. So far, none of the restructuring bills introduced in this Congress incorporates policies for renewable energy.

However, the Administration's March 26 proposed bill, "Comprehensive Electricity Competition Plan," includes elements of all three policies described above. The proposal includes four provisions that could help encourage renewable energy use: (1) an RPS that would guarantee a minimum level of generation, rising to 7.5% of total generation by 2010, (2) a PBF-type public benefit fund that would provide matching funds to states for renewable energy and other purposes, (3) a net metering provision that would assure interconnection availability and allow production from very small renewable energy projects to reduce utility bills, and (4) a consumer information disclosure requirement that would show the renewable energy share of the utility fuel mix.

Some representatives of states with a restructuring policy in place prefer that their policy remain in place, and hope that Congress will not set any federal policy requirements.

Some in Congress believe that state policy actions would create an uneven patchwork and other inequities that justify a federal policy role. However, in 1996, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) issued a resolution which resolved that congressional action on restructuring should support public benefits in electricity markets. It specifically calls for retaining states' authority to impose non-bypassable charges to fund programs that promote renewable energy and other measures and to implement such programs.

In contrast to all three policies described above, a 1997 report by the Heritage Foundation, Energizing America: A Blueprint for Deregulating the Electricity Market, suggests that restructuring the industry by itself will help the environment because "deregulation forces power companies to meet higher standards of efficiency and cleanliness to ensure that local communities are provided the power they want without increased pollution." Further, some are opposed to an RPS in congressional legislation and to set asides to support renewable energy, arguing that they are unnecessary subsidies and that solutions should be pursued that can survive in the market without special protections that cost all Americans. For example, a 1997 report by the Cato Institute, Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not Green, argues that federal, state and other sources of spending and incentives for renewables constitute unneeded subsidies that "needlessly increase electric rates in return for phantom environmental benefits." Further, the Natural Gas Supply Association, which represents natural gas suppliers, has attacked renewable energy sources as costly and environmentally harmful, in an effort to stop RPS provisions in congressional electricity restructuring legislation.

(For a discussion of broader issues, see CRS Electronic Briefing Book on Electricity Restructuring at http://www.congress.gov/brbk/html/ebeletop.html and CRS Issue Brief IB10006, Electricity: The Road to Restructuring.)

Legislation

Funding levels for DOE's renewable energy programs are considered in the FY2000 Energy and Water Development appropriation bill. Similarly, funding for GEF's renewable energy programs is considered in FY2000 appropriation bill for Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs.

H.R. 750 (Thomas)/S. 414 (Grassley)

Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a 5-year extension of the credit for producing electricity from wind, and for other purposes. House bill introduced, February 11, 1999; referred to Committee on Ways and Means. Senate bill introduced February 11, 1999; referred to Committee on Finance.

S. 882 (Murkowski)

Energy and Climate Policy Act of 1999. Establishes new Office of Global Climate Change at DOE and authorizes $2 billion over 10 years to fund renewable energy and other energy technology programs. Introduced April 27, 1999; referred to Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S. 815 (Roth)

Poultry Electric Energy Power (PEEP) Act. Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the credit for producing electricity from poultry waste. Introduced April 15, 1999; referred to Committee on Finance.

CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS, REPORTS, AND DOCUMENTS

U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs. Economic Costs of Kyoto Protocol. Hearing held September 16, 1998.

U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations. Subcommittee on Energy and Water. FY1999 budget request: DOE Science and Renewable Energy Programs. Hearing held March 11, 1998.

U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Technology Committee. Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Kyoto and the Administration's Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Request. Hearing held February 12, 1998.

U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Appropriations. Subcommittee on Energy and Water. FY1999 budget request: DOE Renewable Energy Programs. Hearing held March 10, 1998.

FOR ADDITIONAL READING

Tables showing DOE Renewable Energy R&D Funding (current and constant), FY1974-FY1992; and the DOE Defense, Science and Energy Funding, FY1973-FY1992 are available from the author of this issue brief.

Alliance to Save Energy. Energy innovations: a prosperous path to a clean environment. June 1997. 171 p.

California Energy Commission. Electricity report. August 1997. [P300-97-001]

Edison Electric Institute. Renewable resources and electricity generation: a report on utility involvement and outlook. June 1995.

Electric Power Research Institute. Renewable power industry status overview. EPRI December 1998. 1 vol. (EPRI TR-111893).

---- Utility customers go for the green. EPRI Journal, v. 22, March/April 1997: 6-15.

---- Renewable energy technology characterizations. Dec. 1997. 266 p.

Holt, Edward A. Disclosure and certification: truth and labeling for electric power. Renewable Energy Policy Project. January 1997. 12 p.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. International Energy Agency (IEA). Renewable energy Policy in IEA Countries, Volume II: Country Reports. OECD/IEA, Paris, 1998. 253 p.

---- Benign energy? The environmental implications of renewables. 1998. 122 p.

U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Renewable energy 1998: issues and trends. (DOE/EIA-0628(98)) March 1999. 89 p.

---- Energy Information Administration. Renewable energy annual 1998. (DOE/EIA-0603(98)) December 1998. 85 p.

---- Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Program plan for renewable energy generation of electricity. (DOE/GO-10095-019). December 1994. 24 p.

---- Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Final report of the task force on strategic energy research and development. [Annex 1: Technology Profiles] June 1995.

---- Comprehensive national energy strategy. (National Energy Policy Plan, DOE/S-0124) April 1998. 60 p.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Air and Radiation. Energy efficiency and renewable energy: Opportunities from title IV of the Clean Air Act (EPA 430 R-94-001). February 1994.

U.S. Executive Office of the President. Federal energy research and development for the challenges of the twenty-first century. November 5, 1997. 200 p.

U.S. General Accounting Office. Solar and renewable resources technologies program. (GAO/RCED-97-188). July 1997.

U.S. Office of Technology Assessment. Renewing our energy future. OTA-ETI-614. September 1995. 269 p.

U.S. Department of State. Office of Global Change. Climate action report: 1997 submission of the United States of America under the framework convention on climate change. July 1997. 256 p.

Wise, Ryan et al. Renewable energy policy and electricity restructuring: a California case study. Energy Policy, v. 26, 1998. p. 465-475.

CRS Reports

CRS Report 97-195. The tax treatment of alternative transportation fuels, by Salvatore Lazzari.

CRS Report 98-615. Electricity restructuring: The Implications for Air Quality, by Larry Parker.

CRS Report 97-416. Federal tax incentives for alcohol fuels, by Salvatore Lazzari.

Web Sites

CRS electronic briefing book on Electricity Restructuring. http://www.congress.gov/brbk/html/ebeletop.html

CRS electronic briefing book on Global Climate Change. http://www.congress.gov/brbk/html/ebgcctop.html

American Solar Energy Society. http://www.ases.org/index.html

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). http://www.awea.org/

California Energy Commission. http://www.energy.ca.gov/renewables/index.html

Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST). http://solstice.crest.org/index.shtml

International Solar Energy Society (ISES). http://www.electricnet.com/orgs/intsolar.htm

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. http://www.naruc.org/

National Association of State Energy Offices. http://www.naseo.org/

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). International Energy. Agency. Renewable Energy Newsletter. http://www.caddet-re.org

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). http://www.seia.org/maincont.htm

The Buenos Aires Climate Change Conference. Fact Sheet released by the U.S. Department of State, December 1998. http://www.state.gov/www/global/gl.../climate/fs-cop4_final_981200.html

U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network. http://www.eren.doe.gov/

U.S. Department of Energy. FY2000 Congressional Budget Request. http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/00budget/index.htm

U.S. Department of Energy. Green Power Network Clearinghouse. http://www.eren.doe.gov/greenpower/g99final.html

U.S. Department of Energy. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). http://www.nrel.gov/

U.S. Department of Energy. Alternative Fuels Data Center. http://www.afdc.nrel.gov/

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Solar Site. http://www.epa.gov/solar/

Table 1. DOE Renewable Energy Budget* for FY1998-FY2000
($ millions)

Program FY1998
Apprn.
FY1999
Apprn.
FY2000
Rqst.
FY2000-
FY1999
FY2000-
FY1999
Percent
Solar Buildings 2.6 3.6 5.5 1.9 53%
Photovoltaics 64.7 72.2 93.3 21.1 29%
Concentrating Solar Power 16.3 17.0 18.9 1.9 11%
Biomass - Total 58.1 73.2 92.4 19.2 26%
Biomass/Utility Power 27.8 31.5 39.0 7.5 24%
Biomass/Biofuels Transp. 30.3 41.8 53.4 11.7 28%
Wind 32.1 34.8 45.6 10.8 31%
Production Incentive 3.0 4.0 1.5 -2.5 -63%
Solar Program Support 0.0 0.0 10.0 10.0 -----
International Solar 1.4 6.4 6.0 -0.3 -6%
NREL (incl. construction) 3.2 3.9 1.1 -2.8 -72%
Geothermal 28.7 28.5 29.5 1.0 4%
Hydrogen 15.8 22.3 28.0 5.8 26%
Small Hydro 0.7 3.3 7.0 3.8 115%
Renew. Amer. Indian Res. 3.9 4.8 0.0 -4.8 -100%
Electric/Storage 43.3 40.1 41.0 0.9 2%
Program Direction 15.7 18.1 19.2 1.1 6%
Fed.Bldg/Remote Power 4.9 4.0 0.0 -4.0 -100%
RENEWABLES, Subtotal 294.4 336.0 398.9 62.9 19%
Reductions/Prior Year/Increase -24.4 0.0 -0.8 -0.8 -----

Source: DOE FY2000 Cong. Budget Request, v. 2; Feb. 1999.

Return to CONTENTS section of this issue brief.

* These CRS reports were produced by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress providing nonpartisan research reports to members of the House and Senate. The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has made these reports available to the public at large, but the Congressional Research Service is not affiliated with the NCSE or the National Library for the Environment (NLE). This web site is not endorsed by or associated with the Congressional Research Service. The material contained in the CRS reports does not necessarily express the views of NCSE, its supporters, or sponsors. The information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. NCSE disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall NCSE be liable for any damages.