This Electric Life

Senate Bipartisan Support on Energy Efficiency Bill S. 1000

Senate bipartisan support on energy-efficiency bill
Update provided by Lori Pickford, Morgan Meguire

On June 9, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (SENR) Committee heard testimony on legislation to promote energy efficiency: the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitive Act (S. 1000) by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D–N.H.) and Rob Portman (R–Ohio). The bill may be considered as early as this month by the SENR Committee.

S. 1000 includes updates to building codes, appliance standards, and industrial energy efficiency, as well as some financing options for energy-efficiency buildings retrofits. Highlights include:

  • Directs DOE to set national energy savings targets for residential and commercial codes and to ensure model codes are available that meet the targets; however, it does not federalize building code standards.
  • Includes a consensus agreement reached with industry to impose efficiency standards on certain appliances and equipment.
  • Includes a revolving loan program to help commercial and industrial manufacturers implement clean energy technologies.
  • Establishes “Supply Star” through DOE to help companies make their supply chains more efficient.
  • Authorizes the Rural Utility Service to make zero-interest loans to rural electric cooperatives. In turn, the co-ops would provide 10-year loans to their customers for energy-efficiency upgrades of homes or business, which would be paid back via their electric bills.
  • Expands the existing DOE Loan Guarantee Program to include efficiency upgrades to existing commercial, industrial, and MUSH (municipal, university, schools, and hospitals) building efficiency upgrades.

Witnesses included Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy; Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy; Tony Crasi, President, The Crasi Company, IncPhilip Damiano, Chief Operating Officer, Velcro USA; and Jay Scripter, VP Sustainability, Owens Illinois.

Generally, witnesses and Committee members expressed broad support for the legislation. Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska) requested that the DOE report back once it has finalized its review of S. 1000, asking the agency to focus on any potential duplication between existing authority and new programs authorized under the bill. She indicated that the Committee is sensitive to duplication of existing authority and potential fiscal impact on tax payers.