house passes clean energy bill

Measure reduces oil company tax breaks, promotes renewable fuels.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a radical new energy bill, which aims to expand the use of renewable fuels and cut tax breaks to oil firms

The draft law details support for “clean” energy sources like biofuels, wind, and solar and geothermal resources. It would withdraw roughly $16 billion in tax breaks for the oil industry. Some of the money is expect to be utilized to fund research grants and renewable-fuel projects in the energy bill.

The energy measures passed by a vote of 241 to 172, advocate enhanced energy efficiency in appliances, buildings and power grids. These are expected to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and electricity use. It also would provide grants for studies to promote ethanol pipelines, installation of pumps for 85% ethanol fuel at gas stations.

If it passes in its current form, the bill will require all American utility companies to generate 15% of their electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind or other renewable energy sources by the year 2020. It would be the first such stipulation to apply to all the states.

It also calls for more stringent efficiency standards for lighting and electrical appliances, both at retail and in the home, a component of the bill that could impact store operations and monthly expenditures.