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American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) on June 17, 2009. This bill served as a counterpart to the energy provisions in H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the combined climate and energy bill passed by the House that year. The Senate bill addressed a number of important energy efficiency issues, but did not incorporate climate legislation.

 

 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) on June 17, 2009. This bill served as a counterpart to the energy provisions in H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the combined climate and energy bill passed by the House that year. The Senate bill addressed a number of important energy efficiency issues, but did not incorporate climate legislation.

The Senate bill also contained a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that included energy efficiency, but ACEEE credited no savings to this part of the bill as the maximum level of efficiency in this provision (4% of electricity sales by 2020) was less than business-as-usual when it came to electricity efficiency, and the bill permitted states without efficiency programs to purchase efficiency credits from states that saved more than 4% with efficiency. Nineteen states are currently on track to reduce nationwide electricity use by about 5% by 2020. Savings from the bill could have been much improved by strengthening the combined efficiency and renewable electricity standard to require utilities to reduce electricity demand by 10% by 2020. An improved electricity standard with 10% efficiency would result in an extra $66 billion in cumulative consumer savings by 2030—potential savings that ACELA left on the table.

In addition, the Senate bill adopted consensus minimum efficiency standards on residential air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps, pole-mounted outdoor lights (e.g., street lights), drinking water dispensers, hot food holding cabinets (used to serve food in hospitals), and hot tubs. These changes were included as a part of an amendment to the bill in June.  ACEEE estimates that if and when these standards are fully implemented, they will save about as much energy annually as is now consumed by the entire state of Nebraska.

Official Documents:

American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

 

H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), was passed by the House of Representatives on June 26, 2009 but did not become law due to inaction in the Senate.

This legislation created a cap-and-trade mechanism, a market-based incentive to reduce carbon emissions. It mandated a combined renewable electricity and energy efficiency standard (RES/EERS) requiring that 20% of electricity sales by 2020 be met by renewable energy and energy efficiency. The bill also included a number of key policies designed to increase savings from energy efficiency, including improved building codesappliance and lighting standards, and expanded residential and commercial retrofit programs. In addition, allowances from the sale of carbon credits in the cap-and-trade system would have provided funding for a number of important energy efficiency initiatives. Together, these had the potential to help people and businesses to become more efficient and to drive adoption of energy-efficient technologies, our country’s cheapest and most abundant energy source.

H.R. 2454 would have stimulated investments that save energy and benefit the economy. ACEEE’s macroeconomic analysis demonstrated that the bill could have delivered net energy bill savings of $350 billion by 2030, while also generating more than 424,000 additional jobs by 2030. Improvements to this bill that encourage greater levels of investments in energy efficiency could have delivered net energy bill savings of $400 billion by 2030 and nearly $470 billion by 2050,  while also generating more than 2 million additional jobs by 2050 (nearly double the jobs that would be created by H.R. 2454 as passed by the House of Representatives).

Official Documents:

American Power Act of 2010

 

On May 12, 2010, after months of deliberation, Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT), with input from Senator Graham (R-SC), introduced a discussion draft of comprehensive climate change legislation called the American Power Act of 2010 (APA). This bill contains a cap-and-trade program on greenhouse gas emissions by utilities and large industrial emitters, a carbon fee on transportation fuels, and a modest allocation of funds to energy efficiency.  It was designed to be combined with energy legislation developed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee called the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA).  ACELA, which includes a number of key building and industrial energy efficiency provisions, was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June, 2009 and amended in May, 2010 to include additional energy efficiency provisions. 

In contrast to the House-passed ACES bill, APA includes much less investment in energy efficiency.  And relative to the energy efficiency provisions in ACES, the Senate Energy Committee ACELA bill includes somewhat more limited energy efficiency provisions.  As a result, the combination of APA and ACELA achieves less energy savings than ACES and increases the cost of meeting the greenhouse gas emissions targets in both bills.  APA does include more provisions for energy efficiency in transportation and industry than did ACES, representing opportunities for enhancements that, when combined with some of the provisions from the House-passed bill, could achieve even greater savings with significant benefits to average Americans.

APA’s efficiency provisions fall into a few distinct categories: consumer protection provisions that require local distribution companies (LDCs) or states to spend a portion of natural gas or fuel oil allowances on energy efficiency, state funding for energy efficiency, funding for R&D programs, industrial energy efficiency technical assistance and grants, and transportation planning and infrastructure funds. Most of these provisions will phase out by 2021, and a number end as early as 2015.

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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

 

In February 2009, Congress passed and the President signed into law an economic stimulus package estimated to cost $787 billion over two years. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) includes the single largest investment in energy efficiency in history with approximately $17 billion specifically for efficiency. The Recovery Act was designed to be a multi-year program — the first year providing fast-acting emergency relief, tax, and infrastructure measures and the following years offering energy programs that will underpin long-term economic growth. A large proportion of the stimulus funds related to energy efficiency will go to state and municipalities, each of which will handle program development and design individually.

The three programs that constitute the major funding sources for energy efficiency programs at the state and local level are the Weatherization Assistance Program, State Energy Program, and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. ARRA funding for these programs will allow states to either supplement existing programs or begin new ones to implement energy efficiency improvements across all sectors, including public sector facilities, residential and commercial buildings, industrial and agriculture, transportation. 

Aside from the state and local initiatives, ARRA funded $4.5 billion for smart grid demonstration projects, $700 million for alternative-fuelled vehicles, $400 million for advanced research projects in energy (ARPA-E), and allows energy efficiency improvements to be eligible for billions of more dollars in investment for federal agencies.

The energy programs funded by ARRA will leverage substantial private sector investment, spurring job creation in industries hit hard by the recession such as construction and manufacturing. The energy-related ARRA funds will allow cash-strapped state governments to lower utility bills. Schools, hospitals, and other public facilities will also use ARRA-funds to lower operating costs and invest energy savings into important services for communities.

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

 

In February 2009, Congress passed and the President signed into law an economic stimulus package estimated to cost $787 billion over two years. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) includes the single largest investment in energy efficiency in history with approximately $17 billion specifically for efficiency. The Recovery Act was designed to be a multi-year program — the first year providing fast-acting emergency relief, tax, and infrastructure measures and the following years offering energy programs that will underpin long-term economic growth. A large proportion of the stimulus funds related to energy efficiency will go to state and municipalities, each of which will handle program development and design individually.

The three programs that constitute the major funding sources for energy efficiency programs at the state and local level are the Weatherization Assistance Program, State Energy Program, and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. ARRA funding for these programs will allow states to either supplement existing programs or begin new ones to implement energy efficiency improvements across all sectors, including public sector facilities, residential and commercial buildings, industrial and agriculture, transportation. 

Aside from the state and local initiatives, ARRA funded $4.5 billion for smart grid demonstration projects, $700 million for alternative-fuelled vehicles, $400 million for advanced research projects in energy (ARPA-E), and allows energy efficiency improvements to be eligible for billions of more dollars in investment for federal agencies.

The energy programs funded by ARRA will leverage substantial private sector investment, spurring job creation in industries hit hard by the recession such as construction and manufacturing. The energy-related ARRA funds will allow cash-strapped state governments to lower utility bills. Schools, hospitals, and other public facilities will also use ARRA-funds to lower operating costs and invest energy savings into important services for communities.

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Energy Policy Act of 1992

 

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) sought to comprehensively address U.S. energy needs, including an energy efficiency title that included several energy efficiency provisions. ACEEE estimated that these provisions had the potential to save about 2-6 Quads of energy per year between 2000 and 2010, which would be equivalent to about 2- 6% energy savings per year.  Major energy efficiency provisions of the Act included building energy efficiency standards, equipment energy efficiency standards (including motor standards), residential energy efficiency ratings, regional lighting and building centers, federal energy management, electric and gas utility regulatory reform, least-cost planning for federal electric utilities, and energy efficiency R&D, among others. 

ACEEE and the Alliance to Save Energy conducted a review of the law five years after passage and, despite the comprehensive nature of the energy efficiency provisions, found that many of the provisions were voluntary and were largely ignored.  For example, provisions calling for state action were ignored by many states, and only resulted in policy changes in a few states.  Ultimately, most of the energy efficiency savings came from a few key provisions, including a series of new equipment standards for commercial heating and air-conditioning equipment, electric motors, and lamps, equipment efficiency ratings, improvements to building codes, and R&D efforts.

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Energy Policy Act of 2005

 

Following four years of unsuccessful attempts to pass an energy bill, the 109th Congress took up an energy bill again in 2005, with a House version passing in April and a Senate version passing in June. The Senate and House both approved a conference bill with substantial majorities in late July, and the President signed the bill on August 8. ACEEE estimated the bill would save about 2% of U.S.energy use in 2020, compared to about 10% for a bill with our recommended efficiency provisions.

See the press release, Conference Energy Bill Misses the Big Targets, for ACEEE's comments on and summary of savings estimates of the final bill.

Comprehensive summary of the final bill

  • Efficiency Title. The energy efficiency title includes new equipment efficiency standards for 16 products and calls for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to set efficiency standards via a rulemaking on three products. Aside from provisions on standards, this title addresses combined heat and powerappliance labelingresearch and development, efficiency in federal and public facilitiesbuilding energy codes, public housing, and other efficiency topics.
  • Tax Title. The final bill includes $2.3 billion in incentives for high-efficiency vehicles, new and existing homes, commercial buildings, and for manufacturers of high-efficiency appliances.
  • Vehicle Fuel Economy. EPACT 2005 marginally weakened the existing CAFÉ situation. ACEEE analysis indicated that full use of this loophole could erode actual fuel economy of the U.S.fleet by up to 5%.
  • Electricity Title. In the electricity title, the final bill contains new Public Utilities Regulatory Practices Act (PURPA) compromise language that sustains the ability of combined heat and power facilities and other non-utility power generators to sell power into utility grids.
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