Legislation

Official Short: E-Prize Competition Pilot Program Act of 2015

Sponsors: Sen. Murkowski (R-Alaska)

THOMAS: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1346?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22s+1346%22%5D%7D

E-Prize Competition Pilot Program Act of 2015

S. 1346 establishes a program to provide financial awards to eligible entities that develop and demonstrate technology to reduce the cost of electricity in a high-cost region.

Background

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s March 2015 “Average Retail Price of Electricity,” the national average residential electricity price is 12.35 cents/kilowatthour. Sec. 625 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 defines a high-cost region as a region in which the average cost of electrical power exceeds 150 percent of the national average.  As of March 2015, states that would qualify as a high-cost region and benefit from technology that would reduce the price of electricity are: Hawaii (31.20), Massachusetts (22.12), Connecticut (21.94), Rhode Island (20.05), Alaska (19.64), New Hampshire (19.56), New York (19.15), and all territories.

Key Provisions

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Energy to establish a prize competition for entities to develop and verifiably demonstrate technology that reduces the cost of electricity or space heat in high-cost regions by at least 25 percent. 
  • Authorizes the award of four prizes at up to $1 million apiece, with funding derived from the Energy Technology Commercialization Fund (“the Fund”), which was created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
  • The Fund receives approximately $20 million per year by statute (0.9 percent of Department funding for applied energy research, development, demonstration and commercial application).
  • Establishes that prize competitions run from 2 to 5 years in order to give entities a reasonable amount of time to develop technology, but not so long as to have technology outpace the competition.