U.S. Promotion of Emerging Energy Technologies Remains Unfunded

Published April 1, 2009

In August 2005, the Bush administration signed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct05). At the time the legislation was the most comprehensive rewrite of the nation’s energy policy in more than 70 years.

One of EPAct05’s most notable and ambitious goals was its focus on promoting the development of innovative and emerging energy technologies.

Subsequently, Congress passed a second energy bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which took effect in December 2007. EISA is an omnibus energy policy law aimed at increasing energy efficiency and the availability of renewable energy.

Together, the measures contain more than 130 provisions requiring federal agencies to undertake research, development, and demonstration of new technologies, to engage in public/private partnerships, and to make available to the private sector financial incentives for the development of these new energy technologies.

Lack of Funding

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has tracked implementation of the two laws. We have found that a significant number of the energy technology and efficiency directives listed in EPAct05 and EISA are unfunded, underfunded, or simply not implemented at all.

Congress does not appear to have paid much attention to this funding concern, instead focusing on a massive economic stimulus plan calling for the spending of tens of billions of dollars on energy-related programs. If history is a bellwether, it is doubtful any funds likely to accomplish anything will actually be made available.

William L. Kovacs ([email protected]) is vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs Division.

For more information …

EPAct05: Enactment+1 and EPAct05: Enactment+2, U.S. Chamber of Commerce: http://www.uschamber.com/issues/index/energy/default

EPAct05: Enactment+3, U.S. Chamber of Commerce: www.uschamber.com/issues/index/environment/epact05_eisa