Bipartisan Group of House Members, Alliance to Save Energy Call for 'Energy Efficiency Cornerstone Act' to be Incorporated into Comprehensive Energy Bill

The bill includes energy-efficiency provisions that are critical to the country's ability to tackle - immediately - the energy price and supply problems that are being driven by growth in demand but which were not included in the omnibus energy bill adopted earlier this year by the House.

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2005 - House Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Caucus Co-Chairs Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy, today sent the clear message to prospective House energy bill conferees that energy efficiency must be a cornerstone of U.S. energy policy by introducing The Energy Efficiency Cornerstone Act (EECA). The bill includes energy-efficiency provisions that are critical to the country's ability to tackle - immediately - the energy price and supply problems that are being driven by growth in demand but which were not included in the omnibus energy bill adopted earlier this year by the House.

The bill will be introduced by a bipartisan group of leading House members, including, in addition to Wamp and Udall, Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas), Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), and Energy and Commerce Committee members Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Thomas Allen (D-Maine).

Wamp, a vice-chair of the Alliance, and Udall were joined by Allen at a news conference announcing the introduction of the EECA. The new measure would bring the House-passed H.R. 6 more closely in line with the Senate's just-passed Energy Policy Act of 2005 (S. 10), which has stronger energy-efficiency provisions, including more robust energy-efficiency tax incentives for consumers and industry.

The Alliance estimates that the EECA would more than double the energy savings of H.R. 6 - saving an additional 1.9 quads of energy annually by 2020, or about 1.5 percent of total expected U.S. energy use at that time.

Important EECA energy-efficiency provisions that are not currently in H.R. 6 include:

Additional new energy-efficiency standards for appliances and equipment;

Tax incentives for highly-efficient new homes, commercial buildings, heating and cooling equipment, appliances, and combined heat and power systems;

A tax credit for highly-efficient hybrid vehicles and fuel cells;

Permanent extension of Energy Saving Performance Contracts, or ESPCs, which allow private financing of energy-efficiency improvements to federal buildings;

New or updated energy performance standards for new federal buildings, privatized military housing, manufactured housing, and federally subsidized housing;

$25 million a year to help states achieve high rates of compliance with the most recent building energy codes;

Changes (from the Energy Policy Act of 1992) to the fleet alternative fuel vehicle purchase requirements to allow hybrid vehicles and other oil-saving measures to qualify;

A requirement that federal agencies ensure that the average fuel economy of new light duty vehicles in their fleets rises by at least 3 mpg;

Funding increases for the Energy Star program and provisions to ensure that Energy Star eligibility requirements are kept up-to-date;

Authorization for voluntary agreements with industrial enterprises to reduce overall industrial energy intensity, with specific targets of a 2.5 percent reduction each year, independent verification of savings, and an authorization of funding;

A study on state and regional policies to promote cost-effective programs to increase end-use energy efficiency, including performance standards, public benefit funds, infrastructure planning, and ensuring appropriate returns for energy-efficiency investments; and

Authorization of several state pilot programs, funded at $25 million over five years, to develop plans and programs designed to reduce electricity and natural gas consumption or demand by at least 0.75 percent per year.

Alliance President Kateri Callahan noted, "Introduction of The Energy Efficiency Cornerstone Act - which embodies many provisions in the Alliance's Vision 2010 energy-efficiency policy roadmap - sends a strong signal that key House members will work to assure that any national energy bill finally enacted includes robust energy-efficiency provisions to reduce demand and extend our current energy supplies quickly, cheaply, and cleanly."

She added, "The Alliance applauds the bill's bipartisan cosponsors for their foresight in addressing the demand side of the energy equation and for recognizing that energy efficiency must be a key component - indeed a 'cornerstone' - of meaningful U.S. energy policy."

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.

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