Senate Passes Two Salazar Energy Efficiency Amendments

U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) spent his Friday making the world safe for alternative energy projects. But there are worse things the government could be doing.

Salazar sent out two news releases touting his accomplishments in the energy field. First, the Senate has approved an amendment sponsored by Salazar to increase the availability of hybrid and electric vehicles.According to Salazar’s release:

The amendment creates new programs to get advanced electric and hybrid vehicles ready for the market, including plug-in vehicles that are recharged by plugging into a standard electrical outlet.  Second, the amendment offers a special loan program to encourage electrification at major transportation centers – such as truck stops, ports, and airports – to reduce the use of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel by vehicles at such sites.

The Senate is expected to pass the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 sometime next week.

Salazar also sponsored an amendment to the same bill that calls for the country getting 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025. According to a second Salazar release:

Already, a nationwide consensus has emerged for developing renewable energy resources: as of December 1, 2006, 24 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted a Renewable Electricity Standard (also known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard – RPS) or a Renewable Portfolio Goal (RPG); demand for E85 vehicles (those that run on a special gasoline blend that is 85 percent ethanol) grew from 674,678 in 2004 to 743,948 in 2005 and demand for hybrid vehicles grew from 88,272 in 2004 to 139,595 in 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The results of renewable energy development for consumers speak for themselves: Not only do flex-fuel and hybrid vehicles save their owners money by using less gas, but the reduced gasoline demand benefits every gasoline consumer in the marketplace. Consumers in Colorado who chose to participate in Xcel Energy’s voluntary wind energy program saved a total of $14 million in 2004 and 2005.

In addition, rural areas where wind farms, ethanol, solar and other renewable energy production facilities are often located have benefited, too: tax revenues from renewable energy facilities in Colorado’s small towns and rural counties have jumped from $12,000 in 2004 to $1.2 million in 2006 to a projected $3 million in 2007.

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Dan Whipple

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