Manchin: Energy Efficiency Is The Low Hanging Fruit

October 22, 2019

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine international efforts to increase energy efficiency and opportunities to advance energy efficiency in the United States. In his opening remarks, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Committee, emphasized the economic and climate benefits of increasing energy efficiency.

“We have been focusing on climate solutions in this committee, and we need a variety of solutions to make the differences that we need. But energy efficiency really is the low hanging fruit. I think we’ve all acknowledged that. Multiple studies have shown that energy efficiency is cheaper than investing in any other type of new generation – it is truly the cheapest kilowatt out there. It’s also readily available – there are lots of opportunities to improve efficiency in buildings, industry, and transportation,” Ranking Member Manchin said.

Ranking Member Manchin also highlighted the work the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has done to advance energy efficiency initiatives in the 116th Congress.

“Our Committee has been forward-leaning this year in having experts here to testify on the facts around the changing climate. Because while we may not all agree on the approach to take, we should be starting from the same place with a baseline of facts. That’s the only way we can really start working together on solutions,” Ranking Member Manchin said. “I think this Committee has demonstrated a commitment to energy efficiency – so far we’ve reported 12 bills that would increase energy efficiency in the buildings, manufacturing, industrial, and transportation sectors. Two of those bills are focused on the federal government because we are the largest energy user in the country. That’s great material for a robust energy efficiency title in an energy innovation bill and I hope to work with my colleagues and my Chairwoman on that.”

Ranking Member Manchin asked witnesses about how the United States can incentivize other nations to use cleaner energy technologies.

“I think back to my grandparents, and my grandparents coming here at the turn of the century, the 20th century, and I remember my grandmother talking about the first time she got a washing machine or a refrigerator, and I can assure you, she wasn’t worried about how she got it, she wasn’t worried about how it was produced, how much pollution was being emitted. When she got it, she was just tickled to death to have it. And I would say, as India – and I was in India – and all the rural areas, you know when you see most of the females during the day gathering up manure to bake it and then use it as fuel, they’re able to flip a switch on or change something  and they don’t care either. How do we get India, how do we get some of Asia, some of the developing nations, to use some of the technology that we’ve developed? How do we do that?” Ranking Member Manchin asked.

“People are looking for opportunities to improve their lives, they’re looking for the best technologies, they’re looking for solutions, whether you’re in Africa or in the United States, you’re going to be drawn to those technologies that you believe have the highest value to you. So how do we demonstrate that? We can label – EnergyStar labelling has worked very well in the United States; we can talk about the attributes, and we can create competition in the market to incentivize these types of things,” said Jennifer Layke, Global Director for Energy at World Research Institute. “But the other area that we can work on is things like integration. So, zero-carbon buildings, thinking about how you take both the energy supply and the energy demand and you put that together in a way, that’s the appeal of an automobile powered by a battery, that it could potentially become the backup in your home. Those are the types of solutions that allow energy efficiency to move forward.”

The hearing also featured testimony from representatives from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the International Energy Agency, and Ingersoll Rand Inc. To read their testimonies click here.

To watch the hearing in full click here.