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Senate Advances Efficiency Bill

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The Senate unanimously approved a bill (H.R. 4850) with two amendments on Saturday morning that make time-sensitive reforms, provide regulatory relief to manufacturers of certain appliances and equipment, and clarify the requirements within the industrial efficiency and the federal agency energy efficiency programs.

The Bingaman amendment would continue the success of the 25-year old Department of Energy appliance efficiency program. It is estimated that by 2030, the DOE program, as amended by the Bingaman amendment, will reduce national electrical demand 12 percent below what it otherwise would be -- all at virtually no cost to the American taxpayer.

Championed in the Senate by Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and with the support of his colleagues Roy Blunt (R-MO), Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the "Enabling Energy Savings Innovations Act," as amended, would establish efficiency standards for certain specialized products, consolidate other standards and provide the Energy Department with the flexibility to consider new technologies in achieving energy efficiency goals.

The Shaheen-Portman amendment addresses the important issues of industrial efficiency and federal agency energy efficiency, by coordinating research and development among DOE offices, requiring implementation plans for meeting agency efficiency goals and expanding the definition of federal renewable energy consumption requirements to include thermal and electric renewable energy consumed.

"This bill will reduce regulatory burdens on manufacturers and save energy by continuing DOE's collaboration among industry, consumer and energy efficiency advocacy groups on appliance, industrial and Federal agency efficiency," said Bingaman. "The programs strengthened by these amendments reduce the energy costs for American households and businesses, freeing those savings for other uses. And they strengthen electric grid reliability and protect our environment by reducing the impacts of increased energy production and use. I am heartened to see the continued bipartisan commitment to energy efficiency that is demonstrated by the passage of H.R. 4850."

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