The Week Ahead: Senate to Focus on Law Funding Energy Projects


Five years after enactment, the law that authorized the creation of a federal program that funds the development of technologies in areas not likely to be undertaken by the private sector will be the subject of a Sept. 19 hearing by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) was enacted in 2007 to fund the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E).

During a hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation in January, Republicans alleged that some ARPA-E projects had received prior private sector funding for similar worka possible violation of the law.

Continuing Resolution Would Hit Light Bulbs 

In the week ahead, the Senate is expected to take up a House version of a measure that would bar DOE from enforcing efficiency standards for light bulbs. The measurea continuing resolution to fund the government until March 27—retains previously enacted provisions, including one that bars enforcement of efficiency standards for 100-watt light bulbs and other incandescent bulbs. As detailed in a Sept. 11 World Climate Change Reportarticle, while Republicans have criticized the standards as overreach, and critics call them a "de facto ban" on incandescent lighting, proponents of the standardsincluding light bulb manufacturerssay they expect the effects of the ban to be limited.

DOE Workshop on Renewables

DOE's Wind and Water Power Program will host a workshop Sept. 18 in Portland, Ore., on how hydropower can be integrated into the U.S. power grid. As detailed in a Sept. 11 article, Energy Secretary Steven Chu's plan to restructure the four federal power marketing agencies as a way to fast-track renewables is causing considerable debate on Capitol Hill, especially among members of Congress from Western states, where federal hydropower has produced low-cost electricity for decades.

California Board Meeting

On Sept. 20, the California Air Resources Board will meet in Sacramento to discuss an update on the Global Warming Solutions Act (A.B. 32), consider amendments to its mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting rule to harmonize it with the Environmental Protection Agency's reporting rule, and review the California Fuel Cell Partnership and Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative.

EPA, DOE Webinars

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a Green Power Partnership webinar Sept. 19 on "Addressing Barriers to Renewable Energy Procurement." The webinar will cover common challenges corporations face in regard to market access, deal terms, and risk management when adding clean power to their energy portfolios.

The Energy Department will hold a webinar Sept. 19 on "Community Renewable Energy Success Stories: Tapping Into Wind in Urban Environments." The webinar will provide details on urban wind projects in Milwaukee and Hull, Mass.

On Sept. 19, DOE's Wind Power America will hold a webinar to provide an overview of the 2011 Small Wind Turbine Market Reportpublished by the American Wind Energy Association. Larry Flowers, AWEA's deputy director for distributed and community wind, will give the presentation.

Highway Administration Seminar on Sustainability

The Federal Highway Administration will hold a webinar Sept. 19 on "Integrating Sustainability Analysis into Freight Transportation Projects and Programs." According to FHWA, issues relevant to freight sustainability include emission reductions and climate change, job creation and preservation, and community impacts. The webinar will provide information on tools developed by FHWA, the European Union's COFRET (Carbon Footprint of Freight Transport) project, and other agencies and organizations.