Alliance to Save Energy Joins Key Senators in Emphasizing Importance of Energy Efficiency in Bipartisan Energy Bill
Says Efficiency Offers Even More Energy-Saving Potential
Washington, D.C., June 14, 2005 - The Alliance to Save Energy today joined the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee in emphasizing the importance of energy efficiency in the bipartisan energy bill now before the Senate.
Along with Alliance President Kateri Callahan, Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), and committee members Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) all spoke in favor of robust energy-efficiency programs to help meet our nation's growing energy needs. Noting that the Senate committee has crafted a "robust" energy-efficiency package, Callahan said there are important missing efficiency provisions that must be added by the full Senate, notably measures to address our nation's growing oil dependence.
"Over the past 30 years, energy efficiency has been the leading resource in addressing our country's growing need for energy to fuel our economy," Callahan said. "Thanks to public policies, technology innovation, and aggressive energy standards and building codes, energy efficiency now meets nearly 40 percent of our nation's energy needs. In other words, without energy efficiency, our nation would require 40 percent more energy to power our economic engine than it does right now.
"But we've only tapped the surface," Callahan continued. "There is more - much more - that efficiency can contribute to displacing the need for new power plants, more petroleum, more natural gas, more energy. Our studies indicate that the provisions in the Senate Energy Committee bill can reduce the anticipated growth in energy use over the next 15 years by roughly 8 percent. Even more crucial is full implementation of the bill's provisions. If the administration and Congress fully implement and fund the programs authorized in the bill, establish the energy standards, and meet the oil-savings target, the energy-savings potential could be increased four-fold.
"At the same time, there are key areas that remain unaddressed in the Senate bill," Callahan said. "Congress must address the transportation sector - our country's largest consumer of petroleum. With more than 50 percent of our oil today imported, and imports projected to rise to nearly 70 percent within the next 20 years, this is not just an energy and environmental issue for our country - it is an economic and national security imperative.
"The Alliance strongly urges the Senate to improve the fuel economy of our vehicles by closing the loopholes in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. We advocate sensible changes that will benefit consumers, like revising the testing procedures to reflect real-world driving, and redefining SUVs and minivans to be what they actually are - passenger vehicles," Callahan said.
Callahan said the Alliance's CAFE reforms could meet more than 80 percent of the Senate energy bill's directive to the president to develop and implement measures to reduce U.S. oil demand by 1 million barrels per day by 2015.
To ensure that efficiency is a cornerstone of our energy policy, the Alliance also called on the full Senate to retain these important energy-saving provisions of the committee bill:
Long-term reauthorization of the Energy Savings Performance Contracts, or ESPC program, without encumbrances. This program allows and encourages the nation's largest energy user - the federal government - to make efficiency upgrades to its facilities, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in federal energy costs each year;
A set of provisions designed to jump-start state and utility energy efficiency programs;
Energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment; and
A $25 million-a-year fund to support states in achieving high rates of compliance with the most current and aggressive energy building codes.
The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.