Federal Alternative Energy Bills Advance

By Published On: September 25, 2019

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Sept. 25 forwarded to the U.S. Senate legislation focused on energy storage, energy efficiency, and industrial emissions reductions.

The measures “can serve as the bipartisan pillars of a robust energy package centered on innovation and efficiency,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), Committee chair.

Among the measures advanced was S. 1602, the Better Energy Storage Technology Act, by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). It would create research, development and grid energy storage demonstration programs at the Department of Energy.

“To tackle the climate crisis, America needs to move to renewable energy,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) stated. “Affordable energy storage is key to that transition.”

The better energy storage bill would require the DOE’s Office of Electricity to create within 6 months of S. 1602’s enactment a 10-year plan to promote energy storage technologies that provide at least six hours of power from systems lasting 20 years. It would include cost targets for grid-level storage technologies—chemical, electrochemical and thermal.

It also would direct DOE to establish five grid scale demonstration projects by Sept. 30, 2023.

The plan would be submitted to the Sen. Energy and Natural Resources and House Science Space & Technology committees.

Also backed by the Senate committee was S. 2137, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen, (D-N.H.). The legislation would “make it easier for private sector energy users to become more efficient while also making the country’s largest energy user–the federal government–more efficient,” according to a bill analysis.

S. 2137 includes several voluntary measures aimed at increasing the efficiency of the industrial, building and residential sectors. It would also “streamline” federal government efficiency programs and financing.

The third measure sent to the full Senate was S. 2300, the Clean Industrial Technology Act, by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). It would incentivize lower-emission technologies in industrial product processes, heat generation and chemical processes. Product processes include manufacturing iron, cement, steel and industrial ceramics.

S. 2300 would permit up to $650 million being spent on emission reduction demonstration projects.

It  does not apply to power plants.

Elizabeth McCarthy

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