Bipartisan Energy Bill Big Job Creator

Bipartisan Bill a Big Job Creator

The Senate passed the first major piece of energy legislation since 2007, which contains several provisions that advance a bipartisan approach to energy, including programs for grid storage, cyber security, renewable energy, energy efficiency, research and innovation, and workforce development.  The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 will unleash energy savings, integrate next generation technologies, and bolster energy resiliency and affordability. By including workforce development, it will also help train the next generation of energy experts, including technology innovators and developers, system integrators and installers, finance professionals and workforce development experts. 

“I’m thrilled the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to update our country’s energy policies and pave the way for a clean energy economy,” said Senator Chris Coons. “I’m also pleased that several of my energy priorities are included in this legislation, including reauthorization of the Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program, which help millions of Americans save on energy costs, and a provision to help national labs partner with the private sector to increase technology transfer. This bill marks an important step towards a cleaner energy future that will grow our economy and increase our nation’s energy security.”

Senator Coons has been a strong supporter of the provisions in the Energy Policy Modernization Act that accelerate U.S. infrastructure and support advanced manufacturing, which are key to U.S. competitiveness. He also supports programs included in this bill that will provide states greater access to capital for financing clean energy. 

Weatherization and energy efficiency provisions:

  • The reauthorization of the Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program  benefits all U.S. states and territories.  For 40 years, the Weatherization Assistance Program has assisted low-income families who lack the resources to make their homes more energy efficient. The 41-year-old State Energy Program leverages federal investment with state and local funds to encourage strategic and programmatic energy-related activities to increase energy efficiency, develop alternative energy sources, promote energy development, and reduce energy dependency. 
  • Provision for Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) and the Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESC). These contracts enable private financing to help federal agencies reduce their energy use at no added cost to the government, saving both energy and taxpayer dollars. Since their inception, ESPCs have achieved over $13 billion in energy savings across the federal government.  Senator Coons recently worked with Senate and House colleagues to urge the President to fulfill his commitment to achieving his goal of private sector ESPC and UESC financing through such contracting by the end of 2016.   

Research and development provisions:

  • Reforms to the national lab system to give the labs new flexibility to support innovation in partnership with the private sector. America’s 17 national labs conduct research in a broad range of scientific and technological fields, but are not always equipped to translate their scientific discoveries into commercial breakthroughs. These reforms will help them transfer new technologies out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.
  • Reauthorization of the Energy Title of the America COMPETES Act to support Department of Energy (DOE) research programs. Authorizations for the DOE Office of Science and the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) recognize congressional support for a reliable and predictable funding stream for basic energy science research.  

Long-term “national energy strategy” provision:

  • Authorization of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). Just like with a periodic assessment of our national defense, diplomatic, and security strategies, an interagency QER will focus on energy infrastructure and identify the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of integrated actions for a long-term national energy strategy.