Powering Up Efficiency; one take on tax reform

Powering Up Efficiency; one take on tax reform

Washington has been abuzz recently with talk of tax reform based on the Senate Leadership’s deadline for input that expired on July 26, 2013.  What’s at stake is only the entire U.S. tax code.  Do we scrap it and start over?  If so, how do we identify what is actually working and is thus worth saving?

NEMA members have a respectful suggestion for the Senate: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water — at least not when it comes to tax incentives for energy efficiency investments.

The United States today wastes more energy than it consumes, a conclusion confirmed by data from both the Energy Information Administration and Lawrence Livermore National Labs (check it out at eia.gov and llnl.gov and an earlier NEMA Currents blog).

In our view, using the power of the federal government to accelerate energy efficiency investments deserves the highest priority. In fact, we say energy efficiency should be the nation’s “first fuel” choice because it is the only “source” of energy that directly translates into savings with 100% efficiency, whether that's in consumer savings or greenhouse gasses.

This is why NEMA submitted a legislative recommendation to the Senate to create a technology-neutral tax incentive for energy efficiency. Our proposal includes specific metrics for things like commercial buildings, industrial facilities, and the grid that can be used to verify that investments in energy efficiency are truly measurable and effective.

Nothing in Washington matters as much as the voice of the voters.  I’d like to ask you to take a look at the NEMA proposal [http://www.nema.org/Policy/Pages/Tax-Initiatives.aspx] and if you like it, urge your Senators to support it.  Incentivizing energy efficiency is one area where the U.S. Senate should not hesitate.

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