What Happened to the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014?

The Act and Its Downfall

First off what is the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014?  The bill contains 4 parts.  Title I establishes a voluntary, market-driven approach to aligning the interests of commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption. Title II exempts large grid-enabled electric-resistance water heaters from regulation if they contain thermal-storage capacity. Title III requires energy efficient government technologies. Title IV requires federally-leased buildings without Energy Star labels to benchmark and disclose their energy use.

The coal industry is losing market share to natural gas and energy conservation. They're fighting back by opposing any conservation or renewable-energy initiatives.
The coal industry is losing market share to natural gas and energy conservation. They’re fighting back by opposing any conservation or renewable-energy initiatives.

Too bad the Dems and Repubs couldn’t figure out how to pass this non-controversial and fairly anemic bill.  The bill is actually subtitled “Bipartisan Solution to Encourage Energy and Cost Savings”.  On May 12, Congress almost passed the bill. Par for the course, at the last minute, Congress dissolved into partisan bickering and the bill failed. According to a quote from a New York Times article on May 12, Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio said “Today’s failure to move forward on a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill is yet another disappointing example of Washington’s dysfunction”. Portman and Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat from New Hampshire are the sponsors of the bill.

For a year staff members from both sides of the aisle have worked on this bill.  It contained provisions to cut homeowner’s energy use, utility bills and carbon footprints, and other  measures that make it easier for consumers to buy “smart metered” water heaters and make it cheaper for manufacturers to build energy-efficient cooling and heating systems.

The Problem with Congress

Coal-fired electricity is the greatest known threat to human health and our climate.
Coal-fired electricity is the greatest known threat to human health and our climate.

Congress hasn’t passed a major energy bill in seven years and counting. One problem is that representatives of the coal industry oppose any attempt to save energy or to reduce our electrical peak load. Too bad, because our wasteful electricity usage and dangerously high electric peak load are the most destructive air-pollution and climate-change hazards. We can’t make any progress on air pollution or climate change without reducing electricity usage and electric peak load, so we’ve got to find a solution to this opposition from big coal.

Let’s make Congress accountable for their “do nothing” behavior: constantly putting their political careers ahead of the nation’s priorities.  Ask your Congressional representative, “What happened to the “Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014?”.

 

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