Democratic News

The Senate Energy Committee today reviewed the pros and cons of requiring utility companies and others to implement programs to reduce consumer energy demand through a national energy efficiency resource standard (EERS). Such a measure would set required levels of nationwide electricity and natural gas savings to be achieved through a variety of consumer and industrial efficiency programs along with more efficient building codes.
S. 548, the Save American Energy Act of 2009, introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), was also reviewed at today’s hearing.  That legislation would establish a Federal EERS to require electricity producers to achieve a 15 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020.  Natural gas distributors would be required to boost their efficiency by 10 percent over that same time period.
Chairman Bingaman: “Despite its well-known benefits, energy efficiency programs are not being utilized to their best potential.  Today’s hearing is focused on a proposal that could help America meet future energy needs, by using less of it.  I look forward to learning more about how a utility efficiency standard would work nationally, either as a stand-alone law or as part of a Renewable Electricity Standard.”
Energy efficiency is often described as the “least-cost option” or “low-hanging fruit” of energy policy.   Its potential for reducing the need for new resources and new power plants has been recognized for years, with some experts estimating energy savings of up to 30 percent in states across the country.  To take advantage of these potential energy savings, 19 states have implemented utility efficiency standards since 1998.  Recently, the likelihood of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) has prompted calls for state utility efficiency standards to become Federal law as well.
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