Senate Energy Bill Sets Stage for Efficiency to be Cornerstone of National Energy Policy, Says Alliance to Save Energy

Release Date: Friday, June 24, 2005

Washington, D.C., June 24, 2005 – “The energy bill that the Senate is poised to adopt is much more balanced between decreasing U.S. energy demand and increasing supply than its House counterpart,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan. “The Alliance estimates that in 2020, the policies in the Senate bill would save enough energy to avoid the need for 120 new power plants and reduce the nation’s annual energy use by about three Quads, or 2.6 percent, cutting our annual energy costs by about $30 billion,” Callahan added.

“This bill does not, however, tackle our dangerous addiction to oil in the transportation sector, which accounts for two-thirds of total U.S. oil use. We need real fuel economy reforms if the president is to save a million barrels of oil a day by 2015, as the Senate bill directs him to do,” Callahan added.

“The Senate bill sets the stage for energy efficiency to become a much-needed cornerstone of U.S. energy policy, but we emphasize that realizing its full potential depends not only on the Senate provisions surviving in conference with the House, but also on aggressive implementation and full funding,” Callahan said.

Callahan observed, “The Senate tax provisions alone would provide 10 times more incentive to cut energy demand than the House-passed tax package – more than $5 billion compared with only about $500 million – with incentives for energy-efficient new and retrofitted homes and commercial buildings; heating and cooling equipment and home appliances, combined heat and power systems; various appliances; stationary fuel cells and microturbines; and hybrid vehicles.”

The Alliance said that the Senate bill also surpasses the House measure by including new efficiency standards for commercial refrigerators and freezers, commercial packaged air conditioners, commercial coin-operated clothes washers, and other equipment. “Such efficiency standards ‘lock in’ savings for the decades-long life of major appliances and equipment and continually move the marketplace toward products that yield greater energy savings,” Callahan said.

Callahan also praised the Senate bill for authorizing a 10-year extension, without crippling caps, of Energy Saving Performance Contracts (ESPCs) allowing private financing of energy-efficiency improvements to federal buildings; $25 million a year to help states achieve high rates of compliance with up-to-date building energy codes; and $25 million encouraging state and utility programs aimed at reducing demand for electricity and natural gas.

“While ESPCs deserve a permanent extension, the Senate has made strides by providing a long-term authorization that will allow federal agencies to plan for and execute energy-efficiency upgrades which will save taxpayers money on federal energy bills,” Callahan noted.