As Default Deadline Nears, Congress Continues Debate Debt Ceiling Plan

On July 22, 2015, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, the first major energy legislation since 2007. The bill focuses on areas of agreement and avoids controversial issues such as lifting the ban on crude oil exports and hydrocarbon development in the Arctic Wildlife National refuge; it also omits tax extensions related to renewable energy generated from solar and wind power.

The bill tackles five core areas: efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability, and the conservation of public lands. Among the key provisions with impact to the natural gas industry, the bill would set a 45-day deadline for the Department of Energy (DOE) to issue final decision on applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). Related to electric power, the provisions on grid resilience aim to modernize the existing grid, stimulate the deployment of smart-grid technologies, enhance the ability of the grid to withstand cyber attacks, and support distributed generation aspects such as advanced grid storage and microgrid technologies.

Concerning energy efficiency and renewable energy, a large part of the bill addresses energy efficiency policies, including state energy programs, building codes, and efficiency-driven retrofits. Hydropower, geothermal, and bioenergy are the three renewable energy sources the bill would support in its provisions; notably, the bill lacks discussion on solar and wind. Finally, the bill would seek to advance energy innovation through various research programs.

Originally published by EnerKnol.

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