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Senate Energy Committee approves efficiency, hydro power bills


From the May 9, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published May 9, 2013

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday approved bills on hydro power and energy efficiency. A number of senators expressed interest in discrete amendments to the energy efficiency legislation, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 761), Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., but held off at the request of committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Wyden said he would work with them. Although the bill passed by voice vote, Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah, Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., asked to be recorded as voting against S. 761. APPA supports the bill.

The legislation would encourage energy efficiency by strengthening national model building codes, creating a "Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Financing Initiative" to encourage private investment in building efficiency upgrades, allowing federal agencies to take advantage of existing funding to use the most current building efficiency standards for new federal buildings and creating incentives for manufacturers to save energy by using more efficient electric motors and transformers. A slightly different version of the bill passed the Energy Committee last year but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote.

The committee passed both the House and Senate versions (although they were identical) of two separate hydro power bills. One (S. 306 and H.R. 678) would authorize all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities for hydro power development under federal Reclamation law. The other bill, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act (S. 545 and H.R. 267), would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to streamline its statutory program for small hydro power development. APPA supports both bills (See Public Power Daily, April 23).

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