Capitol Hill

Saving energy

Although unstable energy prices and continued political unrest in many oil-exporting countries have caused many lawmakers to once again call on Congress to reform U.S. energy policy, serious legislative action during 2012 appears unlikely. The legislative gridlock that typically accompanies a presidential election year has forced energy policy—sometimes an issue that enjoys much bipartisan agreement—squarely to the back burner.

Complicated politics

Also complicating energy politics is the sustained backlash following the September 2011 collapse of Solyndra LLC, the Fremont, Calif.-based solar energy technology manufacturer that received more than $500 million in federal loan guarantees before filing for bankruptcy.

Additionally, the current fiscal and budgetary constraints resulting from the U.S.' exploding debt and deficit have stalled progress on various policy efforts as Congress struggles to adopt spending and tax reforms. Many of the cuts made so far have come from renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, and more cuts are likely to come.