Legislation Would Establish National Energy Efficiency Standard to Cut Costs, Reduce Consumption

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/25/19]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced legislation to boost the use of cutting-edge technologies to increase energy efficiency capabilities across America.

The American Energy Efficiency Act of 2019 builds upon state success to establish a nationwide energy efficiency standard that would ask retail electric and national gas utilities to achieve energy savings of 22% and 14% respectively by 2035. Currently, 26 states have such standards, which have proven to be cost-effective energy savers.

“One of the immediate actions necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce the amount of energy we use—more energy efficiency,” said Sen. Smith. “This bill will significantly improve our collective efforts to increase energy efficiency nationwide by building upon the good work that states are already doing."

“Energy efficiency is the unsung hero when it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, because no matter how great our technological advancements are, the cheapest, cleanest kilowatt-hour will always be the one that is never used,” said Senator King. “This bill will reduce costs for consumers, and decrease overall energy consumption – exactly the type of incentives we need to make meaningful progress in the fight against climate change.”  

“Twenty-six states across America, including Oregon, have already taken the lead in requiring electric and natural gas utilities to adopt energy efficiency standards. These moves have proven to be a big win for American families, who are wasting less energy and saving money on their utility bills. It’s time for Congress to introduce a national efficiency standard, so communities across the country can experience those benefits, all while creating jobs in the energy efficiency industry,” said Sen. Merkley.

The American Energy Efficiency Act of 2019 would help all states benefit from commercial, cost-effective energy savings technologies. It would set basic parameters for energy efficiency resource standards (EERS). The Department of Energy would provide guidance for design and implementation of EERS programs, which would include setting a uniform way to measure, verify, and report energy savings achieved. This bill sets a floor, not a ceiling. States may continue to administer their own programs and are encouraged to adopt even more stringent efficiency goals.

The American Energy Efficiency Act of 2019 is endorsed by: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE); Insulators Union; Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Alliance for Industrial Efficiency; Heat is Power; Midwest Cogeneration Association; Clean Air Task Force, National Wildlife Federation (NWF); Third Way Clean Energy; Fresh Energy; Clean Energy Economy Minnesota; Center for Energy and Environment; Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA); Sierra Club; Building Performance Association; Conservation Law Foundation;  National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO); U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), E4TheFuture; Institute for Market Transformation (IMT); and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).

You can access a summary of the bill here, text of the bill here, and a support letter from endorsing organizations here.

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