Democratic News

Today’s Business Meeting
Nine Amendments, Four Bills, Three Nominations
In a brief business meeting today, with a unanimous voice vote, Senate Energy Committee reported nine bipartisan committee amendments to strengthen and improve the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (S. 1462). The amendments consist mostly of new provisions on energy efficiency, energy R&D and workforce development. The amendments are attached to this message and a summary follows below.
Also, with a unanimous voice vote, the Committee reported three nominations (Philip Moeller and Cheryl LaFleur to be members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Jeffrey Lane to be assistant secretary of energy for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs) and four non-controversial bills -- re: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (H.R. 3689), the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (H.R. 934) and two hydroelectric facilities in Idaho (S. 3099 and S. 3100). Those nominations and bills are now eligible for consideration by the full Senate.
Bipartisan Committee Amendments to the
American Clean Energy Leadership Act (S. 1462)
1. Amendment to improve energy efficiency of appliances, lighting, and buildings.
· Establishes or revises efficiency standards for air-conditioners, heat pumps, gas and oil furnaces, heat pump pool heaters, outdoor lighting, bottle-type water dispensers, hot food holding cabinets, and portable electric spas.
· The revised standards established by this amendment for certain air-conditioners, heat pumps and gas/oil furnaces would be established on a new regional basis, as authorized by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
· Makes several changes to improve operations and effectiveness of the energy efficiency standards program at the Department of Energy.
· Fine-tunes standards that affect security and alarm systems, and water heaters.
The above provisions, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, will save 20,200 gigawatt-hours of energy annually in 2020 and 58,000 gigawatt-hours annually in 2030; they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 15 million tons per year in 2020 and nearly 40 million tons per year in 2030.
2. Amendment to encourage Indian tribes to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
Fully incorporates Indian tribes into programs contained in S.1462, including transmission planning, R&D and infrastructure for electric vehicles, programs to boost industrial energy efficiency, improving the energy efficiency of buildings in Indian country, carbon capture and storage training grants, and energy workforce training programs.
3. Amendment to improve S. 1462 by adding or amending provisions relating to energy research and development, energy workforce, and Department of Energy programs.
· Expands Next Generation Lighting Initiative to include provisions to promote U.S. manufacturing of breakthrough LED lighting.
· Makes technical improvements to ARPA-E authorities and designates Energy Innovation Hubs.
· Provides for better planning and execution of DOE R&D programs.
· Improves existing provisions in S.1462 relating to the electric utility trades program.
· Creates a new advisory committee on energy utility workforce development and enhanced reporting on energy workforce trends.
4. Amendment to expand the authority for awarding technology prizes by the Secretary of Energy to include a financial award for separation of carbon dioxide from dilute sources.
Creates a new technology prize for demonstrating the economic capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or from very dilute effluent streams.
5. Amendment to modify the definition of “minority-serving institution.”
Includes Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions in geosciences and engineering education programs.
6. Amendment to promote wind energy research and development.
·Authorizes a wind energy research and development program to improve efficiency, reliability and capacity of wind energy systems in broad geographic and atmospheric conditions while lowering overall system cost, including offshore and high altitude wind energy systems;
·Authorizes a demonstration program for highly innovative land and offshore based wind energy designs, including integrated systems, components, structures, materials and infrastructure;
·Authorizes the selection of one or more national wind offshore centers at institutions of higher education to advance the technology of offshore wind energy generation; and
·Authorizes a Sense of the Senate that the wind research and development program shall be consistent with the annual small business contracting goals set by the Department of Energy in conjunction with the Small Business Administration.
7. Amendment to provide that earnings from funds of the Clean Energy Deployment Administration, other than fees, may be spent by the Administration only to such extent or in such amounts as are provided in advance by an appropriations act.
Reduces the CBO score of S.1462 by $3 billion, by clarifying the treatment of interest on the $10 billion direct appropriation for the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA).
8. Amendment to improve the efficiency and power generation capacity of existing hydroelectric power facilities.
Adds hydroelectric power efficiency improvement projects to an existing Department of Energy grant program for renewable energy projects.
9. Amendment to modify loan guarantees relating to the Alaska natural gas pipeline.
Makes technical improvements to the law facilitating the construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.
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