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BLOG TO SAVE ENERGY

Clay Nesler

We’ve seen significant progress in clean energy innovation and investment in the last decade, that much is clear, but where do we really stand? I recently had the pleasure of participating in a launch event for the 2020 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook produced for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The headliners of the event were renewable energy, which doubled installed wind and solar capacity, and natural gas, which went from meeting 24% of power generation needs to 38% in a decade.

The story of energy efficiency is a bit more nuanced, confirming an urgent need for greater action. The Factbook demonstrated that energy efficiency – the cheapest, most impactful climate...

White House
For the fourth year in a row, the Trump administration earlier this week proposed draconian, shortsighted cuts to federal energy efficiency programs. A lot of DOE’s success flies under the radar, so it’s not surprising if some might be asking, “Yeah, why do we do all this stuff?” Here are a few examples of what the department does, and why we should keep it up.
EV charging
A key deadline looms on September 30th this year: Lawmakers must pass a bill to reauthorize funding for transportation infrastructure for another five years. So what extent should Congress help Americans be able to transition to electric cars? As the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure gears up to release its highly anticipated bill following a Senate bill from last year, it’s worth addressing some common concerns.
Recent climate data show that the 2010s were the warmest decade on record, with an acceleration of temperature increases in the past five years. Given that increased energy efficiency is the lowest cost, highest impact, and fastest-to-implement climate solution, we are not giving it the urgency it deserves. We need to declare an efficiency emergency to address the global climate crisis.
President Trump has recently launched a crusade against newer and more energy and water-efficient appliances and plumbing products, claiming that they do not perform as well as their energy-intensive predecessors. Appliance and plumbing fixture standards have cumulatively saved consumers billions of dollars on energy and water utility bills. But do these energy and cost savings come at the expense of performance? Or is this false nostalgia? Here’s a look at the evolution of three common items the president likes to discuss.
It’s clear from the inclusion of building efficiency in their climate plans that the candidates running in the Democratic presidential primary each seem to recognize the opportunities here. So without aiming to make a direct evaluation between the candidates’ plans or endorsing one, we pulled together some of the key pledges from each of the proposals.
Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled the outlines of a sweeping climate bill this afternoon, and a look inside shows a host of ambitious energy efficiency policies. That is smart thinking, considering efficiency measures alone could cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. It’s also no coincidence that the package is led in large part by two leading efficiency champions and members of the Alliance to Save Energy’s Honorary Board of Advisors – Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).
While efficiency has had some rocky games in the past (at least at the federal level), at the Alliance, we are training for the season ahead by focusing on the basics of the game – defense, offense, and team building. But we’re taking it one step further by also changing the game through strategic initiatives. Like any good team, we are also thinking ahead and laying the groundwork for the 2021 spring training season of newly elected members of Congress and potentially a new administration.
For the first time, starting with the next update to the model building energy code that states and local governments adopt, all new construction – houses, apartment buildings, condominiums, commercial high-rises, and office parks – will be pre-wired for charging the vehicles of the future.
This week, Congress passed a massive $1.4 trillion spending bill funding the government agencies through September, including not only significant increases for energy efficiency programs, but also several key directions to the Department of Energy. The president is expected to sign the bill today. The numbers are easy to understand, but why did Congress include these directions and what will they do?

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