The Energy bill, NBC, LED, Christmas trees, and me

The great news of the day is that the House passed it's comprehensive energy bill. Here's NRDC's official press release. As noted in our release, the renewable fuel standard in the bill is a big change in our approach to biofuels policy. The bill

calls for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be brought to the market by 2022 – a five-fold increase over the current standard – including 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels made from plant material such as grass and wood chips. Conventional biofuels must generate 20 percent fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline, and advanced and cellulosic fuels must generate 50 percent and 60 percent less, respectively. These targets help ensure that the renewable fuel standard would have a net-positive impact on climate, taking into account land conversion and full lifecycle impacts of ethanol production.

This isn't as big a change as is called for under the low-carbon fuel standard in the Liberman-Warner, but more on that at another point.

Another great part of the energy bill is the efficiency standard for light bulbs. As noted in our press release:

The final bill sets historic efficiency standards for light bulbs, which would require typical bulbs to use 25-30 percent less energy by 2012-2014 and two times less energy by 2020.  Experts say that the light bulb standards would reduce global warming pollution by 100 million metric tons, which works out to be about 1 percent of emissions produced by the United States in 2005.

Along these lines, I went up to NBC studios here in the city a week or so ago and gave them a few quotes about the environmental benefits of LED lights compared to incandescents. Now the story is up on their web site and being shown by their local affiliates, I believe. The pieces is about LED holiday lighting specifically and they have the nifty figure that if we all swtiched to LED holiday lighting we could save about $250 million per year!

Here are two helpful links (here and here) to other parts of NRDC's web site that both suggest LEDs as holiday presents. You have to search a little to find the LED mention on the second link, but it's a list of green gift ideas so think of all the other cool stuff you'll find.

On a more technical note, here's an unofficial factsheet on LEDs that Cai Steger, our former business school fellow extraordinaire. I highly recommend this as a short overview of the technology and the industry.

Pretty rocking day all in all!