WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) has offered his State Energy Race to the Top Initiative as an amendment to The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (Shaheen/Portman), which is being considered by the Senate this week. The Warner amendment has been ranked #1 in cost-benefit to the taxpayers and #2 in terms of potential cost savings for consumers, according to a new analysis of the Shaheen/Portman legislation and its related amendments conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Sen. Warner’s amendment would establish a competitive program of voluntary federal incentives to encourage states to adopt strategies to improve energy productivity. The Warner amendment will help lower energy bills for consumers, create jobs and increase American economic competitiveness. ACEEE’s analysis of Shaheen/Portman amendments concludes that every $1 invested in Sen. Warner’s Energy Race to the Top Initiative would return $8.40 in energy savings. In addition, ACEEE estimated that the Warner amendment would result in a cumulative reduction of CO2 emissions equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 15 million passenger vehicles or 20 coal-fired power plants.
Sen. Warner’s initiative incorporates a national goal of doubling the productivity of U.S. electricity use by 2030, encouraging new approaches to energy productivity through a voluntary program for states and localities. Originally offered as stand-alone legislation in June 2013 and co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the amendment strengthens the goals of the Shaheen/Portman legislation by responsibly leveraging limited federal funds without imposing a single new mandate.
“Most of the innovation in energy policy is occurring at the state level, and this amendment focuses on energy productivity to stimulate innovation, job creation and economic growth,”Sen. Warner said. “Our country needs a new approach to energy that recognizes the value of increased productivity to increase our economic competitiveness. This amendment helps bridge the partisan divide by identifying a smart, responsible middle ground that moves our economy forward.”
Sen. Warner’s Energy Race to the Top initiative was triggered by research indicating that the United States currently wastes more energy than it uses. A whopping 57 percent of the energy flowing into our economy is wasted as heat, noise, and leaks, costing U.S. businesses and households an estimated $130 billion per year, according to the Alliance to Save Energy, a bipartisan group co-chaired by Sen. Warner. The Alliance recommended creating, funding and implementing an energy productivity competition for states in its Energy 2030recommendations.
The Warner amendment seeks to cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings, retrofitting existing structures, upgrading inefficient appliances and other energy productivity measures would receive federal support to help make it happen. According to the Alliance, doubling U.S. energy productivity over the next 20 years would create an estimated 1.3 million American jobs, cut carbon emissions and oil and gas imports by one-third, and boost America’s overall annual economic output by two-percent.
“America is dead last among developed nations in energy productivity. Even China ranks ahead of the U.S.,” Sen. Warner said. “Adding this amendment to the Shaheen/Portman legislation will signal a dramatic new approach to energy that recognizes the value of improving energy productivity to strengthen our overall economic competitiveness,” Sen. Warner said. “By empowering states and local communities to voluntarily take a leadership role in doubling U.S. energy productivity, this friendly competition can make a big difference where it really matters.”
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