Energy Policy Act of 2005

Energy Policy Act of 2005
Energy Policy Act of 2005
Great Seal of the United States.
Enacted by the 109th United States Congress
Public Law Pub. L. 109-58
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R.6 by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on April 18, 2005
  • Passed the House on April 21, 2005 (249 - 183)
  • Passed the Senate on June 28, 2005 (85 - 12)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on July 27, 2005; agreed to by the House on July 28, 2005 (275 - 156) and by the Senate on July 29, 2005 (74 - 26)
  • Signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 8, 2005
Major amendments
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Relevant Supreme Court cases

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub.L. 109-58) is a bill passed by the United States Congress on July 29, 2005, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 8, 2005, at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The act, described by proponents as an attempt to combat growing energy problems, changed US energy policy by providing tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of various types.



General provisions

  • Under an amendment in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Section 406, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes loan guarantees for innovative technologies that avoid greenhouse gases, which might include advanced nuclear reactor designs, such as pebble bed modular reactors (PBMRs) as well as clean coal and renewable energy;
  • the Act increases the amount of biofuel (usually ethanol) that must be mixed with gasoline sold in the United States to 4 billion US gallons (15,000,000 m3) by 2006, 6.1 billion US gallons (23,000,000 m3) by 2009 and 7.5 billion US gallons (28,000,000 m3) by 2012;[1] two years later, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 extended the target to 36 billion US gallons (140,000,000 m3) by 2022.[2]
  • it seeks to increase coal as an energy source while also reducing air pollution, through authorizing $200 million annually for clean coal initiatives, repealing the current 160-acre (0.65 km2) cap on coal leases, allowing the advanced payment of royalties from coal mines and requiring an assessment of coal resources on federal lands that are not national parks;
  • it authorizes subsidies for wind and other alternative energy producers;
  • it adds ocean energy sources, including wave and tidal power for the first time as separately identified, renewable technologies;
  • it authorizes $50 million annually over the life of the law for biomass grants;
  • it includes provisions aimed at making geothermal energy more competitive with fossil fuels in generating electricity;
  • it requires the Department of Energy to:
  • it requires all public electric utilities to offer net metering on request to their customers;
  • it prohibits the manufacture and importation of mercury-vapor lamp ballasts after January 1, 2008;
  • it provides tax breaks for those making energy conservation improvements to their homes;
  • it provides incentives to companies to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico;
  • it exempts oil and gas producers from certain requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act;
  • it extends the daylight saving time by four to five weeks, depending upon the year (see below);
  • it requires that no drilling for gas or oil may be done in or underneath the Great Lakes;
  • it requires that the Federal Fleet vehicles capable of operating on alternative fuels be operated on these fuels exclusively (Section 701);
  • it sets federal reliability standards regulating the electrical grid (done in response to the 2003 North America blackout);[4][5][6]
  • it includes nuclear-specific provisions;[7]
  • it extends the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act through 2025;
  • it authorizes cost-overrun support of up to $2 billion total for up to six new nuclear power plants;
  • it authorizes production tax credit of up to $125 million total a year, estimated at 1.8 US¢/kWh during the first eight years of operation for the first 6.000 MW of capacity,[8] consistent with renewables;
  • it authorizes loan guarantees of up to 80% of project cost to be repaid within 30 years or 90% of the project's life [1];
  • it authorizes $2.95 billion for R&D and the building of an advanced hydrogen cogeneration reactor at Idaho National Laboratory[2];
  • it authorizes 'standby support' for new reactor delays that offset the financial impact of delays beyond the industry's control for the first six reactors, including 100% coverage of the first two plants with up to $500 million each and 50% of the cost of delays for plants three through six with up to $350 million each for [3];
  • it allows nuclear plant employees and certain contractors to carry firearms;
  • it prohibits the sale, export or transfer of nuclear materials and "sensitive nuclear technology" to any state sponsor of terrorist activities;
  • it updates tax treatment of decommissioning funds;
  • it directs the Secretary of the Interior to complete a programmatic environmental impact statement for a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands resources on public lands with an emphasis on the most geologically prospective lands within each of the states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.[9]

In Congressional bills, an "authorization" of a discretionary program is a permission to spend money, while an "appropriation" is the actual decision to spend it. The authorizations above will not get carried out if money is never appropriated for them.

Tax reductions by subject area

  • $4.3 billion for nuclear power[10]
  • $2.8 billion for fossil fuel production
  • $2.7 billion to extend the renewable electricity production credit
  • $1.6 billion in tax incentives for investments in "clean coal" facilities
  • $1.3 billion for energy conservation and efficiency
  • $1.3 billion for alternative motor vehicles and fuels (bioethanol, biomethane, liquified natural gas, propane)
  • $500 million Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBS) for government agencies for renewable energy projects.

Change to daylight saving time

The bill amends the Uniform Time Act of 1966 by changing the start and end dates of daylight saving time, beginning in 2007. Clocks were set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March (March 11, 2007) instead of on the first Sunday of April (April 1, 2007). Clocks were set back one hour on the first Sunday in November (November 4, 2007), rather than on the last Sunday of October (October 28, 2007).

Lobbyists for this provision included the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Lobbyists against this provision included the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the National Parent-Teacher Association, the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Air Transport Association.[11] This section of the act is controversial; some have questioned whether daylight saving results in net energy savings.[12]

Commercial building deduction

The Act created the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction, a special financial incentive designed to reduce the initial cost of investing in energy-efficient building systems via an accelerated tax deduction. Under this provision, building owners (or tenants) can write off the complete cost of upgrading a building’s indoor lighting, HVAC/hot water and building envelope in the year the new equipment is placed in service, capped at $1.80/square foot. Alternately, the owner (or tenant) can upgrade one of these three systems to earn the Deduction capped at $0.60/square foot. Interior lighting may also be improved using the Interim Lighting Rule, which provides a simplified process to earn the Deduction, capped at $0.30-$0.60/square foot. Improvements are compared to a baseline of ASHRAE 2001 standards.[13]

Many buildings are eligible for tax deductions for improvements completed or planned within the normal course of business, and can thus "free ride" for the new incentives. Achievement of these benefits requires cooperation between the facilities/energy division of a business and its tax department or a firm specializing in EPAct 179D deductions. A tax advisor with engineers on staff may serve as a bridge between these two historically separate business divisions. For municipal buildings, benefits are passed through to the primary designers/architects in an attempt to encourage innovative municipal design.

The Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction expiration date has been extended twice, most recently by the Energy Independence Act of 2007 (EISA). With this extension, the CBTD can be claimed for qualifying projects completed before January 1, 2014.[13][14]

Energy management

The commercial building tax deductions can be used to improve the payback period of a prospective energy improvement investment.

Often the deductions are combined with participation in demand response programs where buildings agree to curtail usage at peak times for a premium.

The most common qualifying projects are in the lighting area. According to the Interim Rules for Lighting Projects, the lighting system energy savings target is a LPD (lighting power density), or watts per square foot, that is 25% to 40% lower than the minimum requirements of ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1–2001. For warehouses, the lighting power density (W/sq. ft.) must be 50% lower than the minimum requirements of ASHRAE Standard 90.1–2001 to be eligible for $0.60 per square foot. Lighting power density (W/sq. ft.) reductions of >25% are ineligible for any tax deduction.

In addition to demonstrating a reduction in lighting power density lower than the requirements for the Standard 90.1–2001, control provisions (for example, automatic lighting shutoff) relating to lighting systems as set forth in the Standard must be met. Bi-level switching must be installed. The lighting system must also meet the minimum requirements for calculated light levels as set forth in the 9th Edition of the IESNA Lighting Handbook.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate

The Congressional Budget Office review of the conference version of the bill estimated the Act will increase direct spending by $2.2 billion over the 2006-2010 period, and by $1.6 billion over the 2006-2015 period. In addition, the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the legislation would reduce revenues by $7.9 billion over the 2005-2010 period and by $12.3 billion over the 2005-2015 period. The CBO noted that the bill could have additional effects on discretionary spending, but did not attempt to estimate those effects.


The collective reduction in national consumption of energy (gas and electricity) is significant for home heating. The Act provided tangible financial incentives (tax credits) for average homeowners to make environmentally positive changes to their homes. It made improvements to home energy use more affordable for walls, doors, windows, roofs, water heaters, etc. Consumer spending, and hence the national economy, was abetted. Industry grew for manufacture of these environmentally positive improvements. These positive improvements have been near and long-term in effect.

The collective reduction in national consumption of oil is significant for automotive vehicles. The Act provided tangible financial incentives (tax credits) for operators of hybrid vehicles. It helped fuel competition among auto makers to meet rising demands for fuel-efficient vehicles. Consumer spending, and hence the national economy, was abetted. Dependence on imported oil was reduced. The national trade deficit was improved. Industry grew for manufacture of these environmentally positive improvements. These positive improvements have been near and long-term in effect.


  • The Washington Post contended that the spending bill is a broad collection of subsidies for United States energy companies; in particular, the nuclear and oil industries.[15]
  • Texas companies in particular benefit from the bill. This criticism is heightened by the fact that President George W. Bush, the House Majority Leader (Tom DeLay), and the Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee (Joe Barton) were all from Texas. The fact that the bill passed 74-26 with support from a majority of Democratic senators has not calmed this criticism (a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial on July 28, 2005, suggested Congress had a "let's pass it and claim we did something" attitude).
  • Speaking for the National Republicans for Environmental Protection Association, President Martha Marks said that the organization was disappointed in the bill: it did not give enough support to conservation, and continued to subsidize the well-established oil and gas industries that don't require subsidizing.[16]
  • The bill did not include provisions for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) even though some Republicans claim "access to the abundant oil reserves in ANWR would strengthen America's energy independence without harming the environment."[17]
  • Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made the bill an issue in the 2008 Democratic Primary by criticizing Senator Barack Obama's vote for the bill.[18]
  • This bill exempted fluids used in the natural gas extraction process of Hydraulic fracturing from protections under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and CERCLA[citation needed]. It created a loophole that exempts companies drilling for natural gas from disclosing the chemicals involved in fracking operations that would normally be required under federal clean water laws. The loophole is commonly known as the "Halliburton loophole" since former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney was reportedly instrumental in its passage[citation needed]. The proposed Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act would repeal these exemptions.

Legislative history

The Act was voted on and passed twice by the United States Senate, once prior to conference committee, and once after. In both cases, there were numerous senators who voted against the bill. John McCain, the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election voted against the bill. Democrat Barack Obama, the current President of the United States, voted in favor of the bill.

Provisions in the original bill that were not in the act

  • Limited liability for producers of MTBE.
  • Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
  • Increasing vehicle efficiency standards (CAFE).
  • Requiring increased reliance on non-greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources similar to the Kyoto Protocol.

Preliminary Senate vote

June 28, 2005, 10:00 a.m. Yeas - 85, Nays - 12

Conference committee

The bill's conference committee included 14 Senators and 51 House members. The senators on the committee were: Republicans Domenici, Craig, Thomas, Alexander, Murkowski, Burr, Grassley and Democrats Bingaman, Akaka, Dorgan, Wyden, Johnson, and Baucus.

Final Senate vote

July 29, 2005, 12:50 p.m.[19] Yeas - 74, Nays - 26

Legislative history

Stage House of Representatives Senate
Initial Debate
Introduction April 18, 2005 June 11
Committed April 18 June 14
Committee Name(s) Energy and Commerce
Education and the Workforce
Financial Services
Ways and Means
Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee Stage April 18 to 19
Committee Report April 19
Floor Debate April 19 to 21 June 14 to 23

Cloture invoked June 23,[20]

Passage April 21,[21] June 28,[22]
Conference Stage
Conference Demanded/Accepted July 13 July 1
Conference Meetings July 14 to 24
Report Filed July 27
Final Passage
Final Debate July 28 July 28 to 29
Budget Act waived, July 29,[23]
Concurrence and Passage July 28,[24] July 29,[25]
Presented to President August 4
Signed August 8

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Will Thurman (November 17, 2008). "Biofuels’ Bright Future" (PDF). Forbes. "In December 2007, with the imminent arrival of $100-per-barrel oil, the U.S. Congress swiftly acted to upgrade the 2005 biofuels initiative and RFS from its original target of 7 billion US gallons (26,000,000 m3) by 2012 to a revised RFS target (passed in December 2007) of 36 billion US gallons (140,000,000 m3) of biofuels production by 2022." 
  3. ^ "Sec. 388". U.S.LibraryofCongress. 2005-08-08. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  4. ^ Ken Belsen and Matthew L. Wald, " ’03 Blackout Is Recalled, Amid Lessons Learned", New York Times, August 13, 2008, found at NY Times website. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  5. ^ David Freedlander, "It could happen again: On fifth anniversary of blackout, nation still vulnerable", A.M. N.Y., August 12, 2008. See response at Letter to the Editor. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  6. ^ Report, Energy and Commerce Committee, "Blackout 2003: How Did It Happen and Why? Full Committee on Energy and Commerce, September 4, 2003, found at Energy and Commerce Committee website. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  7. ^ Congress Passes First Comprehensive Energy Bill in 13 Years, Nuclear Energy Institute, 2005
  8. ^ UtiliPoint Issue Alert: New Nuclear Plants Coming to the United States?, January 17, 2007
  9. ^ "What's in the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Leasing Programmatic EIS". Oil Shale and Tar Sands Leasing Programmatic EIS Information Center. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  10. ^ Detailed 2005 breakdown - PDF, 29kB)
  11. ^ Alex Beam (2005-07-26). "Dim-witted proposal for daylight time". Boston Globe. 
  12. ^ Ryan Kellogg; Hendrik Wolff (2007-01) (PDF). Does extending daylight saving time save energy? Evidence from an Australian experiment. CSEM WP 163. University of California Energy Institute. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  13. ^ a b DiLouie, Craig. "NEMA website dedicated to lighting aspects of the Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction". National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  14. ^ Goulding, Charles. "EPAct Section 179D". 
  15. ^ Grunwald, Michael and Juliet Eilperin. "Energy Bill Raises Fears About Pollution, Fraud Critics Point to Perks for Industry." Washington Post. July 30, 2005.
  16. ^ "Bush signs $12.3 billion energy bill into law." MSNBC. Aug. 8, 2005.
  17. ^ Knight, Peyton. "Small Group of House Republicans Derails ANWR Drilling." Washington, DC: The National Center for Public Policy Research. November 10, 2005.
  18. ^ Zito, Salena (March 15, 2008). "Clinton preaches to her choir". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 
  19. ^ Votes from all Senators
  20. ^ 92-4
  21. ^ 249-183
  22. ^ 85-12
  23. ^ 71-29
  24. ^ 275-156
  25. ^ 74-26

External links



  • GovEnergy Workshop and Trade Show



  • Clean Fuels Ohio - This site focuses on alternative fuels as well as alt-fuels incentives created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

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