This piece was originally published in the November/December 2019 issue of electroindustry.
Philip Squair, Vice President of Government Relations, NEMA
It was a consequential summer for NEMA and the electroindustry on Capitol Hill. NEMA has advanced legislative proposals on surface transportation, industrial efficiency, appropriations, carbon monoxide detection, and cyber modernization of the grid.
Most recently, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a surface transportation bill that authorizes $1 billion over five years for a comprehensive build-out of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure along designated corridors. Legislators will now debate how to fund the bill’s various provisions.
NEMA also had a significant hand in the drafting of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, introduced on July 17 by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). This bill includes two rebate programs for (1) inefficient transformers and (2) certain electric motors and associated automatic controls.
Other positive provisions in the bill would strengthen national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy- efficient and create a new grant program to assist home builders, trades, and contractors to implement cost-effective, updated building-energy codes.
NEMA has lobbied for funding for electroindustry priorities at the Department of Energy. The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill for FY2020 bill recommends “$30,000,000 for research, development, demonstration, field evaluation, and commercial application activities related to advanced solid-state lighting technology development.”
Finally, NEMA has been very active in trying to ensure that Congress does not pass legislation incentivizing or otherwise supporting analog grid technologies. A provision has been added in both the House and Senate versions of the Intelligence Authorization Act to establish a two-year pilot program to identify new classes of security vulnerabilities and evaluate technology and Standards to isolate and defend industrial control systems, including analog and nondigital control systems. ei