ROSSLYN, Va.,—The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) responded today to the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 5325, the fiscal year 2013 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.
“In a difficult budget environment, the House has made investments in a number of programs that are critical to innovation, competitiveness, and jobs in the electroindustry,” said NEMA Vice President of Government Relations Kyle Pitsor. “At the same time, NEMA is particularly disappointed with the House’s adoption of the Burgess Amendment, the reduction in ARPA-E, and the failure to place sufficient value on the benefits on energy efficiency.”
The Burgess (R-TX) Amendment prohibits funding for enforcement of national energy efficiency standards for certain light bulbs. These standards, supported by U.S. lighting manufacturers in the bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, save consumers money while preserving customer choice in lighting technologies.
The inability of the Department of Energy to enforce the standards would allow those who do not respect the rule of law to sell inefficient light bulbs in the U.S. without fear of enforcement, which threatens U.S. jobs and creates a competitive disadvantage for compliant manufacturers.
Separately, NEMA supports the Gardner (R-CO)-Welch (D-VT) Amendment as a way to help save energy and taxpayer dollars. It requires that funds shall be made available for agencies to comply with a previous congressional directive to perform energy audits on federal facilities. Opportunities for energy savings can then be realized through energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) at no cost to the taxpayer.
The House’s investments in some programs reflect the advice of NEMA.
$83 million is provided for existing research and development programs in the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability as requested by the Administration. These investments drive new technologies in such areas as Smart Grid, energy storage, and electric transmission in partnership with electrical manufacturers.
EERE’s Solid State Lighting Program would receive $26 million under the bill for its research, development and commercialization of next-generation U.S.-made lighting, including $12 million for research into reduction of manufacturing costs, a key challenge in retaining and building U.S. manufacturing capacity and competitiveness in this 21st century industry.
NEMA is pleased that DOE would continue to have adequate funding to encourage communities to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure; enhance collaboration among governments, businesses, and utilities; remove regulatory barriers to EV adoption; and develop a set of best practices for other communities to use. $26.5 million is provided to the Vehicle Technologies Program’s Outreach, Deployment, and Analysis activities.
In other accounts, the amounts proposed fall short of the NEMA-recommended levels.
Despite broad bipartisan support for the work being done at the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) to develop promising future energy technologies, the House reduces its funding from last year by 27% to $200 million. These high-risk, high-reward research projects are essential to making major technological advancements in the energy sector and to increasing American competitiveness.
NEMA recommended $31 million for Technical Assistance activities at EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (formerly the Industrial Technologies Program) to speed deployment of energy- and cost-saving industrial technologies through its various industry-collaborating programs, but the House provides $15 million.
“We look forward to working with the House and Senate to achieve funding levels essential to the electroindustry’s priorities as well as to remove the misguided Burgess Amendment,” said Pitsor.
NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.