American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009


The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) on June 17, 2009. This bill served as a counterpart to the energy provisions in H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the combined climate and energy bill passed by the House that year. The Senate bill addressed a number of important energy efficiency issues, but did not incorporate climate legislation.


Official Documents:


The Senate bill also contained a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that included energy efficiency, but ACEEE credited no savings to this part of the bill as the maximum level of efficiency in this provision (4% of electricity sales by 2020) was less than business-as-usual when it came to electricity efficiency, and the bill permitted states without efficiency programs to purchase efficiency credits from states that saved more than 4% with efficiency. Nineteen states are currently on track to reduce nationwide electricity use by about 5% by 2020. Savings from the bill could have been much improved by strengthening the combined efficiency and renewable electricity standard to require utilities to reduce electricity demand by 10% by 2020. An improved electricity standard with 10% efficiency would result in an extra $66 billion in cumulative consumer savings by 2030—potential savings that ACELA left on the table.


In addition, the Senate bill adopted consensus minimum efficiency standards on residential air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps, pole-mounted outdoor lights (e.g., street lights), drinking water dispensers, hot food holding cabinets (used to serve food in hospitals), and hot tubs. These changes were included as a part of an amendment to the bill in June.  ACEEE estimates that if and when these standards are fully implemented, they will save about as much energy annually as is now consumed by the entire state of Nebraska.