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Congress Acts on Targeted Energy Legislation

09/1/2011 3:00PMSign-up to receive press releases.

In stark contrast to efforts in recent years to craft large, comprehensive energy policy legislation, the 112th Congress has confronted energy issues with much more focused bills.

In July, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave bipartisan approval, 18–3, to S 1000 The Energy Savings and Industrial Competiveness Act of 2011. This legislation, introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), targets reducing energy use in buildings and industrial facilities. NEMA has been engaged with the bill’s sponsors and has been active in gaining additional support for the measure. While demonstrable progress has been made in the Senate, no companion legislation has been filed in the House.

Energy-efficiency legislation is seen as an inexpensive and highly effective way of reducing costs to ratepayers, making American businesses more competitive with international challengers and decreasing reliance on foreign energy sources, all while lessening pollution.

Provisions in S 1000 that impact the electroindustry include:

  • a federal-state revolving loan program for industrial and commercial projects that improve energy efficiency, power factor, or load management through the implementation of advanced processes, such as sensors, meters, information networks, and drives

  • a federal loan program for energy-efficiency upgrades in commercial, multifamily residential, industrial, municipal, government, school, and hospital buildings

  • the creation of a NEMA Premium® transformer rebate program to encourage replacement of older, less efficient transformers with new transformers that incur 30 percent fewer losses than the NEMA TP 1-2002 Guide for Determining Energy Efficiency for Distribution Transformers efficiency baseline

  • enabling the federal government to use energy savings performance contracts in support of deployment of electric vehicles or electric vehicle supply equipment

  • encouraging the Secretary of Energy to offer support for the development and adoption of model national building energy codes and authorizing the secretary to offer incentives to states to adopt them

  • investment in workforce training grants to higher education institutions to establish building education centers that promote energy efficiency, train individuals for careers in energy-efficient building technology, and promote research and development for alternative energy sources in buildings

  • establishment of a steering committee, made up of national trade associations representing energy-intensive industries or energy service providers, to guide the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP)

  • improvements to ITP to support the use of innovative and applied research for development, demonstration, and commercialization of new technologies and processes to improve efficiency and competitiveness

  • enhancing the ITP’s Industrial Research and Assessment Centers program to expand partnerships with energy service providers to leverage private sector expertise and accelerate deployment of technologies

  • analysis of best practices in federal buildings for the advanced metering of energy use, including recommendations on standard requirements or guidelines for automated energy management systems

  • Jim Creevy, Director of Government Relations | jim.creevy@nema.org.


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