Contact Your Senators: Senate to Begin Debate on the Energy Policy Modernization Act

Contact Your Senators: Senate to Begin Debate on the Energy Policy Modernization Act

By Kyle Pitsor, Vice President, Government Relations, NEMA

iStock_000076458119_FullThe U.S. Senate may begin debate this week on an energy bill that includes many important provisions for the electroindustry. We encourage NEMA members and others in the industry to take action and contact their Senators to urge them to support S.2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

You can easily contact your Senators through NEMA’s online system by clicking here or by calling the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121.

The Energy Policy Modernization Act passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on July 30, 2015, by a bipartisan vote of 18–4. It contains a number of NEMA-backed provisions that would benefit a broad range of association members in two main categories:

Energy Efficiency in Buildings

  • Create new rebate programs to incentivize the installation and retrofit energy-efficient motors and transformers ($10 million each over the course of two years)
  • Direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to support the adoption of modern building energy codes by states and local governments
  • Expand the use of energy service performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (UESCs) in federal facilities
  • Require the DOE to set more stringent energy performance standards for federal buildings (meeting or exceeding the latest International Energy Conservation Code or ASHRAE 90.1 standard) and set an annual 2.5-percent building energy reduction target for each year from 2016 to 2025
  • Require the development of a metric for data center efficiency and require the DOE to maintain a data center energy practitioner program
  • Coordinate energy efficiency retrofit assistance for schools across the country
  • Create a pilot program for retrofitting buildings owned by non-profits
  • Provide grants for career skills training related to energy efficiency in buildings
  • Create a “federal smart building program” to demonstrate the costs and benefits of smart building technologies
  • Require the DOE and General Services Administration to issue reports on high-performance green building labels and certification systems
  • Establish an interagency coordination committee on the energy-water nexus and create a pilot program on smart energy and water within the DOE

Transmission, Distribution, and Storage

  • Improve the efficiency of permitting transmission lines by codifying the Interagency Rapid Repose Team for Transmission and establishing a Transmission Ombudsman to resolve permitting delays
  • Require transmission organizations to submit reports to FERC detailing barriers to deploying microgrids and distributed energy resources and require regional reliability entities to issue reliability impact statements to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission every three years
  • Require the DOE to conduct a research project for grid energy storage to address challenges identified in the 2013 DOE Strategic Plan for Grid Energy Storage
  • Require the DOE to establish a program to promote microgrids for isolated communities and to increase the resiliency of critical infrastructure
  • Provide the Secretary of Energy with emergency authority to protect the bulk power system from cybersecurity threats, and establish DOE as the sector-specific agency for cybersecurity for the energy sector
  • Require the DOE to offer technical assistance to states and regional organizations on electric distribution planning
  • Require the DOE to undertake a study on net metering

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

Again, we encourage you to contact your Senators and urge them to support the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S.2012).

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