Electricity Markets

Key vote on major energy legislation falls short in the Senate

A key procedural vote on further consideration of the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a bipartisan energy package, failed on March 9.

The vote failed 47-44; 60 votes in favor of the energy package were necessary for further consideration.

Divisions over whether to allow votes on certain amendments – such as energy tax provisions, national model building codes and the phase out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – resulted in the bill falling short of the votes needed.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Feb. 27 released the AEIA, which focuses on renewable energy, energy storage and cyber and grid security and grid modernization, among other things.

Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, while Manchin is the committee’s ranking member.

“I am incredulous the Senate did not vote to invoke cloture on our substitute amendment after a year of regular process in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee,” said Murkowski on March 9.

“It is beyond frustrating to have our bill, which contains priorities from more than 70 Senators, held up by an unrelated dispute that was never part of our discussions in the lead-up to this floor process. We will regroup and look for a path forward but finding one will require members to be more reasonable and accommodating than they have been in the last week, and certainly more so than they were today.” 

The American Public Power Association on March 3 expressed support for the energy bill. In a letter to Murkowski and Manchin, Joy Ditto, President and CEO of APPA, said that APPA “greatly appreciates the work” that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee had put into the energy bill package and was pleased to support it.

“The legislation addresses many issues important to public power, including energy storage, energy efficiency, and grid security, as well as promoting much needed research and development for carbon capture utilization and storage technologies, which will be needed to address climate change,” Ditto noted. 

The Advanced Geothermal Innovation Leadership Act of 2019 (S. 2657), was the vehicle used for the AEIA, the energy package comprised of nearly 50 bills passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.