Green Tech boon. But is the new U.S. energy law cornographic?

A new U.S. energy bill has been signed into law by the President.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

A new U.S. energy bill has been signed into law by the President. Here are some of the green tech relevant provisions: Higher fuel-efficiency for cars and light trucks, up to 30 MPG average by 2020. That is currently the standard already in China. Europe already requires 40 MPG on average. Several U.S. states want even tighter emission controls than this new federal statute would provide. Currently California and others are suing the E.P.A. for not approving state laws setting higher anti-pollutilon standards. And California's senior Senator says the E.P.A. won't even talk to her. Of course not, she's a Democrat. An E.P.A. decision on the California law has been promised by end of this year, like next week.

More mandatory use of biofuels. That translates to more corn growing and doubling the use of ethanol. I've already blogged the environmental damage being done by the heavy use of fertilizer (think agricultural steroids) to bulk up the corn crop in the Mississippi River basin. It results in what I think of as the ethanol zone of death in the helpless Gulf of Mexico, near the former city of News Orleans. Of course, the corn growers are celebrating, verbally at least. I cannot vouch for whether corn growers celebrate by downing ethanol, or other corn extracts. To think about that is almost obscene, cornographic I'd say.

The law also requires a lot more use of biofuel not from corn by 2022. This involves technologies and fuels that are NOT now in commercial use in the U.S. Time to get into growing switchgrass on the American Great Plains. There's clearly not enough raw material right now for all the biofuels being demanded.

Law sets higher efficiency standard for electrical appliances. Will make incandescent bulbs nearly extinct. Have you noticed how many of your old-fashioned (pre-2000) light fixtures won't take flourescent bulbs because they're too large? This is good news for those in the lighting industry.

More energy-efficient building products will get some federal support. Apartment buldings will have to meet higher energy efficiency standards. This is good news for the green tech sectors in the insulation, window and roofing industries.

Feds to go carbon neutral. The General Services Administration is the country's largest landlord and they will have to become carbon-neutral by 2030, that means major greening of the mass of federal office spaces around the nation. Contractors and building suppliers can be counting their future contracts in the billions of dollars. How many million dollar-pane windows will this require?

Carbon dioxide emission research to get money. This should be a boon to various CO2 storage and abatement companies.

Even auto tires will be affected. Click here for the tire guys' take on the new regs for them.

Solar, geothermal and wind shut out. The current federal tax incentives for solar and wind power installation were NOT extended. No subsidies for geothermal in this law. However, many states and even cities have their own solar or wind rebates and subsidies in place. And Democrats have vowed to take another run at getting federal help for this renewable energy sources next year.

For some analysis of the businesses who stand to make the most money from this, click here.

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