Energy Committee Advances 21 More Bills to Full Senate

September 25, 2019

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today held a business meeting to consider and report 21 energy and water-related measures to the full Senate, including bills to promote energy storage, grid security and modernization, cleaner industrial technologies, and energy efficiency.

“Our committee reported a number of bipartisan measures in July, and today we are advancing several more that can serve as the bipartisan pillars of a robust energy package centered on innovation and efficiency,” Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said. “I thank my colleagues and our staffs for their hard work to reach consensus on the 21 bills reported today, which focus on everything from energy storage to western water issues.”

In her opening comments, Murkowski highlighted several measures on the agenda, starting with S. 1602, the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act. Introduced earlier this year by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, the committee amended the BEST Act with a joint staff substitute amendment to reflect the range of energy storage bills referred to the committee in this Congress. As amended and reported today, the BEST Act reflects the committee’s consensus on energy storage legislation.

“Energy storage is often referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of clean energy technology because of its ability to make the grid cleaner, more resilient, and more affordable,” Murkowski said. “I commend Senator Collins – who has been a leader on this issue and clean technologies in general – and many of our colleagues for their tremendous work to develop legislation that will advance these technologies, make renewable energy more competitive, and ultimately help lower our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Murkowski next highlighted S. 2300, the Clean Industrial Technology Act, which seeks to incentivize lower-emission technologies in that sector.

“This is a new measure, but it is pretty straightforward, seeking to reduce emissions from industrial sources,” Murkowski said. “We don’t have many good options to do that right now, so this is a prime area for the federal government to provide reasonable, voluntary incentives.” 

Murkowski also spoke to S. 2137, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, led by Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. Murkowski affirmed that efficiency improvements are a cross-aisle priority but also noted concerns with two provisions in the bill.

“I will support this measure today, recognizing it has been our flagship effort on energy efficiency for several Congresses,” Murkowski said. “I’m hopeful we can see much of it into law, perhaps as part of a larger energy package, but we will have to address prevailing concerns related to building codes and the SAVE Act.”

The committee also reported several bills focused on western water issues and hydropower.

“These water bills address significant drought resilience challenges for communities throughout the west. I applaud Senators Barrasso, Daines, Gardner, McSally, and Risch for working to improve water security in their states and elsewhere,” Murkowski said. “I am also pleased we reported bills to promote hydropower and pumped storage, both of which are important sources of clean, renewable electricity.”

Finally, Murkowski outlined the schedule ahead, noting the committee would likely turn its focus to a markup focused primarily on public lands legislation in early November.

“We have now reported quite a few bills that can be added to a bipartisan energy package, but there are still several more on our radar that we hope to advance in the months ahead,” Murkowski said. “We will likely have another markup focused on those bills, as well as natural resources legislation, in the next session.”

Archived video, a full list of bills reported by the committee, and a rundown of the business meeting are available on the committee’s website.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.