As the Senate gears up to thrash out a comprehensive energy bill a number of provisions have been outlined that set out the forthcoming agenda that might add up to $20 billion.
Proposals from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee would allow federal loans for energy projects that “avoid, reduce or sequester” greenhouse gases. The loans would cover up to 80% of the cost and would include both clean coal technologies and nuclear generation.
The guarantees would only back projects involving new technologies that are not already commercially available and would be of no cost to the federal government except in the case of a default.
The Committee chairman Pete Domenici is thought to have restricted direct spending from the Treasury in line with budgetary constraints.
Of the nine draft titles released by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee so far, research and development commands the lion’s share with $24.8 billion of this renewables, fossil and nuclear energy get just under $2 billion each.
The Senate energy committee’s coal title provides $1.8 billion, including $200 million per year to the Clean Coal Power Initiative.
The oil and gas title of the energy bill contains many of the anticipated provisions such as expanding access to federal lands for oil and gas exploration but is missing much anticipated provisions lifting moratoria on offshore oil and gas leases.
The renewable energy title does not include a national renewable portfolio standard and much of the bill is devoted to geothermal energy.
An anticipated lively debate on the bill is taking place over the coming weeks but the nuclear energy provisions do not include any of the anticipated incentives that many had anticipated. The legislation also excludes a multi-billion-dollar demonstration project at the Idaho National Laboratory for an advanced reactor to produce both nuclear power and hydrogen. This comes despite the fact that the measure was included in previous legislation.