Senate democrats introduce comprehensive national energy bill

By Susanne Retka Schill | September 22, 2015

Senate democrats introduced a national energy bill Sept. 22 that they says offers a pathway to a cleaner energy future and economy.  The American Energy Innovation Act of 2015 takes a multi-faceted approach, dealing with a number of issues and sectors including electrical generation, energy efficiency, alternative fuels, clean energy research, energy cybersecurity.

Several provisions discussed in the bill summary are of interest to the existing biofuels industry.

Under a section title Clean Fuel Production Credit, a 10 year production credit would be available for facilities in 2018, starting that year for those built earlier, as well as those put in service after it takes effect. The bill also creates a technology-neutral incentive for the domestic production of renewable transportation fuels, based on lifecycle carbon emissions.  “Fuels begin receiving incentives if their lifecycle emissions are at least 25 percent less than the U.S. nationwide average in 2015. Zero and net-negative emission fuels quality for the maximum incentive of $1 per energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline,” the summary details.  

Another provision in that section allows fuels using similar feedstocks and production pathways to be grouped together by the U.S. EPA and [requires new pathways be given provisional guidance with a year of the initial request for approval and final guidance no later than two years later.  

The American Energy Innovation Act would also repeal repeal tax incentives for major integrated oil companies such as foreign tax credits, domestic manufacturing deduction, expensing intangible drilling and others.

Earlier, in July, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., introduced a broad, bipartisan energy bill. Focused on a wide range of national energy opportunities and challenges, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 features five titles reflecting common ground on energy efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability, and land conservation. Versions of some of the provisions contained in that act appear in the newly introduced democratic-sponsored bill.