OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Loan guarantee battle flares in House

Damien LaVera, a DOE spokesman, said the department takes the use of taxpayer dollars seriously and is strengthening oversight of the program, which was first authorized in a bipartisan 2005 energy law and expanded in the 2009 stimulus.

“As we have consistently said, there is a degree of risk inherent in helping new, innovative technologies get off the ground. Congress recognized that risk by putting aside $10 billion in loan loss reserves,” he said in a statement. “But this Administration believes that just because there is risk here, that doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and cede the jobs of the future to China, Spain, or anywhere else.”

The loan guarantee program is authorized to support technologies including renewables, nuclear power and low-emissions fossil energy projects.

The hearing will also delve into separate legislation to improve the federal government’s energy efficiency. Copies of both bills are available here.

Tweet of the day: Embattled media tycoon Rupert Murdoch plunges into the world of energy policy tweeting with this missive:

“Climate change very slow but real. So far all cures worse than disease. Shale gas huge breakthrough for US. Half carbon of coal and oil.”


House set to pass mining bill

The House is expected to approve legislation Thursday to streamline permitting for the mining of rare-earth minerals.

The White House says it backs development of rare-earth materials, but argues the bill would gut environmental protections and is drafted broadly enough to “cover virtually all hardrock mining on Federal lands.”

The measure moved forward in a procedural vote Wednesday. Rare-earth minerals are crucial to a number of high-tech and defense applications.

"Unfortunately in recent decades, much of the development and mining of these domestic mineral resources has been hampered or shut down entirely by a combination of special-interest politics by certain self-appointed environmental groups, and by bureaucratic red tape here in Washington," Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopDefense Department walks back opposition to sage grouse amendment More than 100 Dems oppose GOP efforts to change endangered species law Western lawmakers introduce bills to amend Endangered Species Act MORE (R-Utah) said during debate Wednesday.

Top DOE officials head to Wisconsin, Texas in tax credit push

The top Energy Department officials will surface in Wisconsin and Texas Thursday to make the case for extension of the expiring wind energy production tax credit (PTC), and a new round of credits to support manufacture of green-energy-related equipment.

The administration needs Congress to go along with both goals.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu will appear with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett at the company Ingeteam, which received clean energy manufacturing tax credits under the stimulus law for wind turbine production.

Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman, meanwhile, will be in Houston to tour Proinlosa Energy, which manufactures wind turbine parts. The visits are aimed at putting pressure on Congress to extend the PTC that’s slated to expire at year’s end.

Gadgets, bigger homes fuel rising energy bills

Annual energy expenditures for U.S. homes increased to $2,024 in 2009, up from $1,810 in 2005, according to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) study released Wednesday.
The 11.8 percent jump is attributed to larger homes, more abundant and energy-intensive electronics and doubling of appliances, EIA said.
Known as the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, the study polled 12,083 households in a representative sample of the nation’s 113.6 million housing units.
At $2,595 per year, Northeast homes spent the most on energy, an 11.9 percent increase. Homes in the West spent the least on energy, with bills averaging $1,570 per year, a 5.3 percent rise from 2005.

Senate committee gets update on Alaska petroleum reserve
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will dive into an update on Alaskan oil well remediation at a 9:30 a.m. Thursday hearing.
The full committee hearing will highlight remediation activities concerning federal legacy wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
About 30 wells have been drilled in that reserve, which contains several native villages and a significant caribou population. Many lawmakers want to increase drilling in the reserve, but environmentalists have balked at the idea.
Witnesses include Bud Cribley, Alaska state director for the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management; Cathy Foerster, chairwoman of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission; and State Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Alaska).
Panels to explore the politics of energy
The New America Foundation will tackle projections and promises regarding oil prices and possible North American energy independence at a forum Thursday.

Speakers at the group’s Washington, D.C., office will include Adam Sieminski, the head of the federal Energy Information Administration.
Among the items on the agenda will be whether we have entered a new golden age of fossil fuels, and if so, how will it influence politics at home and abroad?

Other speakers include John Hofmeister, retired president of Shell Oil Co. and founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy; Michael Levi, Council on Foreign Relations program director on energy security and climate change; and Edward Morse, Citigroup managing director and global head of commodities research.

Click here for more on the event.


Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Wednesday ...

- House advances mining bill toward final passage

- White House official: Congress 'short-sighted' on biofuels

- Solar lobby wants grant program extended

- Romney surrogate says wind energy credit stance not set

Romney surrogate: 'He's certainly not a denier' on climate

GOP questions ethanol's viability as E15 gas blend pumps

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