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Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007

The 2007 US Energy Law will affect lighting, biofuels, wind energy and a broad spectrum of energy sources

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Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007

December 2007 saw the new law for an American energy strategy -- "Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007" will be affecting our consumer choices an business decisions for some time to come. Here are some of the elements of interest:

  • The first increase in automotive mileage standards since 1975, when mandates were first instituted.
    • The Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards are increased to a fleet-wide average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Beginning with 2011 models, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will increase the CAFE standard annually for cars and light trucks.
  • Ethanol production--both from corn and other sources, such as woodchips and switchgrass--is to increase nearly fivefold over the next 15 years.
  • Transportation and energy storage technologies stand to receive research and development funding. That includes advanced materials to make lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as electric cars.
    • The mandate for U.S.-grown biofuels is 36 million gallons per year by 2022, with 20 billion coming from non-corn-based, or "advanced," biofuels. The requirement is 9 billion gallons for 2008 and 15.2 billion gallons in 2011, up from the current level of about 6 billion gallons. Ethanol is used primarily as an additive to gasoline.
  • Higher standards for efficiency of lighting and household appliances, with a goal of phasing out incandescent bulbs in 10 years.
  • Tax incentives and utility mandates for renewable power generation were cut!
    • Those higher efficiency standards for consumer appliances, range from lighting to home heating and cooling systems. There are also R&D funds for lighting efficiency, smart grid technologies, and advanced transportation and batteries.
    • Dishwashers will have to cut water usage by 20 percent and clothes washers by 40 percent, saving consumers money.
  • Other technologies expected to receive funding include wave power and the capture and storage of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Green building technologies are also favored with mandates to make government-owned buildings use efficient lighting.
  • The legislation introduces a method of measuring greenhouse gas emissions over the lifecycle of production, according to a policy analyst at the National Resources Defense Council.

Clean-tech industry

Biofuels have been one of the most active in clean-tech investments over the past couple years. The Energy act calls for increased production of cellulosic ethanol made from agricultural wastes, grasses, or woodchips. Companies investing in cellulosic ethanol now have assurances that the demand will be there as they try to make advanced biofuels more cost-competitive with corn ethanol.

Will this bill be enough to cut the US dependence on oil? Even if the U.S. converted 100 percent of farmland to making cellulosic ethanol, it would produce 100 billion gallons a year, while the U.S. consumes 140 billion gallons per year for gasoline alone, according to Felmy from the American Petroleum Institute.


Read the official contents of the bill:

PDF of the bill

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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