Senate passes broad energy legislation - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Industrial, Regulation, Distributed Generation, Solar, Wind  -  April 20, 2016

Senate passes broad energy reform legislation that includes efficiency provisions

The U.S. Senate on April 20 passed a broad energy bill that, among other things, is intended to further drive energy efficiency and promote the penetration of renewable energy across the country.  

The bill, which represents more than a year of work from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, had been expected to pass earlier in the year but was derailed by issues related to the water crisis in Flint, Mich. The Hill reported April 20 that President Barack Obama's signature on the bill would make it the first broad energy law passed in nearly a decade, though differences between the Senate-passed bill and its House counterpart need to be ironed out before a final version can be sent to the president.

According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the bill's energy efficiency provisions will help foster innovation  smart buildings and smart manufacturing to make companies more competitive. The group applauded the Senate's action in an April 20 statement.

"After months of discussion, the Senate finally passed a bill with energy efficiency provisions that could help power our economy for years to come," ACEEE said. "The energy bill passed by the Senate moves the ball forward on energy efficiency, toward consumer energy bill savings, more jobs and cleaner air." 
The Solar Energy Industries Association also applauded the bill. SEIA said the legislation contains a number of wins for the solar industry such as: the inclusion of solar heating and cooling as technologies that can meet the federal government’s renewable portfolio standard; language directing the U.S. Department of Energy to identify what costs and benefits should be considered for the proper valuation of distributed generation; and provisions to improve permitting of solar power plants sited on federal lands.
According to The Washington Post:
The bill, if it merges with House legislation and becomes law, would unleash billions in research and development on new energy technologies, including energy storage, hydrokinetic and marine energy and advancing the electric grid. Many of these initiatives have substantial aisle-crossing appeal, and some could, at least indirectly, help address the problem of climate change (which the legislation does not tackle head on).

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