Committee Examines Bass Bill on Energy Efficiency

Legislation Aims to Increase Energy Efficiency in Federal Government and Reduce Taxpayer Costs

July 12, 2012

The Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Oversight and Investigations today discussed a draft of the “Smart Energy Act,” bipartisan legislation authored by Reps. Charlie Bass (R-NH) and Jim Matheson (D-UT) aimed at increasing energy efficiency in both the federal government and private sector. The federal government is the largest consumer of electricity and fuel in the United States. By optimizing energy efficiency in the federal government, this legislation would reduce federal energy consumption, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Facilitating greater utilization of industrial energy efficiency would reduce the energy costs of our nation’s manufacturers, freeing up capital to expand operations, hire new employees, and better compete globally.

“Today’s hearing furthered the ongoing discussion about how we can move from focusing solely on the supply side of the energy debate to the demand side as well. Improving energy efficiency is a clean and cheap way to reduce our energy costs and holds tremendous potential for new innovations and economic growth,” said Bass.

“I applaud Rep. Bass for his leadership in drafting the Smart Energy Act. We can reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency and the federal government can lead on that by example. This bill is a step in that direction,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY).

Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at the Department of Energy, testified about the current state of energy efficiency efforts in the federal government. She said, “We are making progress improving the efficiency of the nation's buildings, vehicles and manufacturers, but there continues to be large opportunities in the Federal sector and across the country that can help build jobs, save energy, and protect our environment.”

Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy, praised the bill as a commonsense solution for energy security and job creation. “At a time when too many Americans are suffering financial hardships, energy efficiency offers real solutions that would not only help alleviate their economic pain, but also deal with the short- and long-term problems associated with rising energy use,” said Callahan. “Besides lowering energy expenses for those who implement efficiency measures, energy efficiency reduces energy price pressure across the board, creates jobs, lessens dependence on imported energy sources, reduces pollution and its health and environmental impacts, improves America’s global competitiveness, and alleviates stress to the electric grid and water infrastructure.”

Mr. John Marrone, Vice President of Energy Initiatives at the Saint-Gobain Corporation, testifying on behalf of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, discussed the economic benefits that accompany increases in industrial energy efficiency. “Improving energy efficiency is an excellent way to reduce costs,” said Marrone. “After losing about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000, due to loss of competitiveness and recovering about 500,000 jobs since 2010, we have a long way to go. We believe that improving energy efficiency is a solid winning policy platform that will contribute to capital investment, emission reductions and the increasing jobs that we all desire.”

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