The US House of Representatives has approved comprehensive energy legislation, ready for Senate approval before President George W. Bush signs it into law.

The breakthrough followed a series of concessions between the two houses that saw compromise reached on controversial issues such as drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, fuel additives and support for renewables.

The legislation reforms policies relating to oil, gas, coal and electricity sectors and offers tax breaks to stimulate domestic energy production.

For the electricity sector, repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA) and replacement of voluntary electric reliability standards with mandatory, enforceable standards are key measures in the bill.

A new “clean energy” bond mechanism for renewable energy is also included in the legislation as is reform of the hydroelectric licensing process.

Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said of the bill: “This legislation helps protect our environment by supporting the development and deployment of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, encouraging the construction of clean, safe, nuclear power plants and promoting research and development efforts to transform that way we produce and use energy in the future.”

For oil and gas industries, the bill offers $2.6 billion in tax breaks to increase production and to expand natural gas transmission infrastructure while mandating the use of 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels annually by 2012.

The Senate is set to vote on the measure today. The entire House-Senate conference report on the energy bill is available at: