What does energy efficiency have to do with
Not much, but that didn't stop Democratic Senator Jeanne
Shaheen from proposing her sweeping national energy efficiency legislation as an
amendment to Senator Joe Lieberman's Cybersecurity Act earlier this week.
In fact, Shaheen (D-NH) has pledged to tack the
bipartisan "Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of
2011" (S. 1000), which she has co-sponsored with Senator Rob Portman
(R-Ohio), onto every Senate bill called to the floor this session, reports The
The bill would help the US move toward a national
building code, finance energy efficiency upgrades throughout the economy and
train workers to be proficient in energy efficiency practices. It passed the
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources by an 18-3 vote in July, and
has picked up support from the Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and ranking member
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
An analysis by American Council for an Energy-Efficient
Economy estimates that the bill could reduce consumers’ net energy costs $4
billion annually and add 80,000 jobs by 2020.
"This is the fourth bill that we’ve filed an amendment
on, and we’re going to keep doing that to try and raise attention to the fact
that this is legislation that has bipartisan support that we think should come
to the floor because we think it could make a difference," Shaheen told The Hill.
The House is considering similar legislation that
doesn't go as far as the Senate version. That bill was discussed by the House
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power and Subcommittee on
Oversight and Investigations last month.
“There is a prospect that that could actually get through
the House so we could get to a committee and conference them, and we could
potentially get legislation then,” Shaheen told The Hill.
The US lags well behind all but three of the world's
major economies in energy efficiency, according to a ranking recently published
by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The Shaheen-Portman bill, originally proposed in May
2011, has been held up largely due to disagreement on how to pay for it in.
Among specific measures it calls for:
The development of National Model Building Codes by
amending the Energy Conservation and Production Act (ECPA) and direct the
Department of Energy (DOE) to support development of national model building
energy codes, including those encouraging goals of zero-net-energy for new
residential and commercial buildings by 2030
Establish training centers to build skills in
energy efficiency technologies
An expanded DOE loan guarantee program for efficiency
Zero-interest loans to rural public utilities and
electric cooperatives to support low-interest energy efficiency loans for
Updated efficiency standards on outdoor lighting,
residential heating and cooling systems, residential appliances, and other appliance
products based on agreements between manufacturers and efficiency advocates.
Read the summary of the Shaheen-Portman bill: