After several years of debate, the Energy Bill became law in August of 2005. I played a key role in negotiating the details of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and brought Wyoming's unique energy perspective to the forefront of the debate. The Energy Policy will make huge steps toward conserving energy, producing energy, and diversifying our nation’s portfolio. This bill is a roadmap for the future -- for conservation, for efficiency, and for new technologies that allow us to use traditional resources more effectively. The effort will also bring about a transition to alternative forms of energy over the long-term.
In the near-term, coal will remain one of the most important energy sources in our country. Wyoming has a tremendous quantity of coal and we need to use our resources to our advantage. I was able to secure $2.9 billion for coal technologies in the energy bill in order to maintain the focus on our state’s greatest resource.
As we modernize our infrastructure we will be able to deliver electricity more efficiently. Our improved energy infrastructure will allow places that are energy rich -- like Wyoming -- to deliver power to outlying states. I included language in the energy bill for electricity line depreciation, gas line depreciation, refiner depreciation, and enhanced oil recovery, in addition to the incentives for coal.
I was one of 14 Senate conferees to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. During that time I was able to insert the Western Integrated Gas Combine Cycle demonstration program, in order to ensure that western coal remained a tenet of future coal efforts.
The work we have done will stabilize rising energy prices, boost our economy and create jobs. It’s been a long time in coming, but the results will be tremendous for Wyoming. Our state will prosper through the development of new uses for coal, through improved energy infrastructure, and through our ability to deliver electricity beyond our borders.
The energy policy will highlight coal for electricity and allow more flexible fuels like natural gas to be used for other things such as heating homes. While we continue research and development to make coal cleaner, to advance the use of hydrogen, and to utilize other up-and-coming technologies to make energy use more efficient, we should not forget why Wyoming is a key energy state. Wyoming’s coal, oil and gas, coal-bed methane, trona, bentonite, uranium, and wind-generation capabilities are not to be forgotten.
With passage of the Energy bill, Wyoming can continue to develop itself as a premier energy source for electricity. Energy companies and research projects will provide more and more jobs and income for the state. Through new technologies and development efforts, Wyoming will continue to assert itself as a key player in the energy market.