Senate Energy Bill Will Spur Substantial Energy Efficiency Savings But Savings Significantly Less Than House Energy Bill

June 18, 2009

Media Contact(s):

Steven Nadel , 202-507-4011, Executive Director


Washington, D.C. — The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out the American Clean Energy Leadership Act yesterday, a bill designed to tackle America's energy challenges including increasing energy efficiency. This bill will yield energy efficiency savings of about 2 quadrillion Btu’s of energy (“quads”) in 2020 and nearly 4 quads in 2030, according to a preliminary analysis released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). ACEEE estimates that this bill will save about half of the energy in 2020 and one-third of the energy in 2030 that the energy efficiency provisions in H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act will save. H.R. 2454 was recently reported out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and may come to a vote on the full House floor next week.


Although the energy savings from the Senate bill are significantly less than H.R. 2454, consumers will realize approximately $20 billion in net savings by 2030. Moreover, such savings will avoid about 133 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road for a year. The 2030 energy efficiency savings account for about 4% of projected U.S. energy use that year.


ACEEE estimates that 70% of the 2020 energy savings in the Senate bill will come from buildings, including a major building retrofit program, improvements to building codes, and a variety of other buildings provisions. Of the remaining savings, 18% are from new minimum efficiency standards on appliances and 12% from industrial programs. The Senate bill also includes a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that includes energy efficiency, but ACEEE credits no savings to this part of the bill as the maximum level of efficiency in this provision (4% of electricity sales by 2020) is less than business-as-usual when it comes to electricity efficiency. Nineteen states are currently on track to reduce nationwide electricity use by about 5% by 2020.


However, there are a number of provisions in the Senate bill which produce better energy and economic savings than H.R. 2454. These include provisions to strengthen manufacturing efficiency through research and development, training at Industrial Assessment Centers, and industrial efficiency grant programs. In addition, the Senate bill contains reforms to the ENERGY STAR program that are estimated to generate 170 trillion Btu's in savings by 2020. In addition, the Senate bill includes a water and energy efficiency title, several studies, and long-term energy savings goals. These provisions are hard to estimate savings for and are not included in the ACEEE analysis.


"We hope the House will consider improvements to its bill, building on the industrial and ENERGY STAR provisions in the Senate bill. And we urge the Senate to improve its bill, such as by including provisions from the House bill and also revising the Renewable Electricity Standard by increasing the overall target and including at least 10% electric efficiency savings by 2020,” stated ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “Ideally, Congress will take advantage of the best energy efficiency provisions in both bills,” he continued. “Energy efficiency is our cheapest energy source and both the Senate and House energy bills leave substantial cost-effective efficiency savings on the table.”


Details on ACEEE's preliminary analysis can be found at http://www.aceee.org/sector/national-policynational/index.htm.


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045 or visit aceee.org.