Energy Bill Includes Small Business Provisions

The cost of heating oil is taking a bite out of many small business budgets as wintry weather blankets much of the nation, but some relief may be on the horizon.

The Senate on Thursday passed an energy bill, H.R. 6, that includes a handful of provisions addressing the small business community. President Bush has said he would sign the bill, but first it must go back to the House for another vote.

"Anything that the government can do to help small businesses invest in energy efficiency is a good thing," said Gary Skulnik, president of small business Clean Currents, an alternative energy broker. "Small businesses have serious cash flow issues."

The measure would establish loans for small firms to invest in use of renewable sources of energy in their business. It also would enable small businesses conducting energy efficiency or renewable energy research and development to be given priority consideration in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

It would require the Small Business Administration to implement within 90 days an energy efficiency program and to create a program responsible for educational materials and outreach on the benefits of telecommuting.

It also would establish an audit program to increase energy efficiency using Small Business Development Centers and it would promote financing deals between small businesses and utility companies to increase energy efficiency.

By Sharon McLoone |  December 14, 2007; 12:45 PM ET Regulation Legislation
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