This has been a good week for bipartisanship and energy efficiency on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, the House passed the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 6582) by an overwhelming majority, 398-2, and on Thursday the Senate passed the same bill unanimously and sent it to President Obama’s desk. On Wednesday, Reps. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Peter Welch (D-VT) founded the Bipartisan Energy Savings Performance Caucus to highlight the benefits of energy efficiency and energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs).
The American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act
The House of Represenatives passed a modest energy efficiency bill by an overwhelming majority on Tuesday, and the Senate passed it on Thursday, sending it to Presdient Obama’s desk. The bill incorporates a number of provisions from other legislation, including the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1000, commonly referred to as the “Shaheen-Portman bill”), the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act (S. 3925, commonly referred to as “INCAAA”), and the Smart Energy Act (H.R. 4017, commonly referred to as the “Bass-Matheson bill”). The bill, authored by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and co-sponsored by 14 others, would:
- Adjust the efficiency standards of certain electric appliances, including some commercial refrigerators, water heaters, air conditioners, and heat pumps;
- Direct the Department of Energy to report on and promote the early adoption of certain energy efficiency measures and technologies, including innovative manufacturing processes, demand response, electric motors, combined heat and power, waste heat recovery, advanced metering infrastructure (“smart meters”), and more;
- Require review of certain appliance efficiency standards every six years;
- Implement a web-based tracking system for federal facilities to report their energy and water consumption; and
- Adjust certain technical provisions within the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Bipartisan Energy Savings Performance Caucus
On Wednesday, Reps. Gardner and Welch said, “The goal of our caucus is going to be pushing for policies that reduce energy costs, cut pollution, and create jobs.” This bipartisan caucus, which already has more than 10 members, will focus on speeding the uptake of ESPCs and energy efficiency in federal buildings, as well as encouragingutility energy service contracts and performance contracts at the federal, state, and local levels.
Current members include: Reps. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Peter Welch (D-VT), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Lee Terry (R-NE), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Michael Michaud (D-ME) and Ron Kind (D-WI), and Delegate Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).
President Obama issued a memorandum on December 2, 2011 authorizing federal agencies to use $2 billion for ESPCs, but uptake has been slow due to accounting issues and other barriers that the Bipartisan Energy Savings Performance Caucus hopes to address.
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