July 29, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to introduce legislation to boost the use of cutting-edge technologies to increase energy efficiency capabilities across America. The American Energy Efficiency Act of 2019 builds upon state success to establish a nationwide energy efficiency standard that would help retail electric and national gas utilities achieve energy savings of 22% and 14% by 2035. Currently 27 states, including Maine, have set these standards which have proven to be cost-effective energy savers.
“Energy efficiency is the unsung hero when it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, because no matter how great our technological advancements are, the cheapest, cleanest kilowatt-hour will always be the one that is never used,” said Senator King. “This bill will reduce costs for consumers, and decrease overall energy consumption – exactly the type of incentives we need to make meaningful progress in the fight against climate change.”
The American Energy Efficiency Act of 2019 would help all states benefit from commercial, cost-effective energy savings technologies such as high-efficiency lighting and appliances. It would set basic parameters for a national energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), which would be administered by each state. The Department of Energy would work out the details of the EERS, which would include setting a uniform way to measure, verify, and report energy savings achieved. States are able to continue to administer their own programs and encouraged to adopt even more stringent efficiency goals. In addition, the bill could help bring new jobs to the state; energy efficiency already supports more than 8,500 jobs in Maine and reports have projected growing demand throughout 2019.
A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions, Senator King is the lead sponsor on clean and efficient energy bills such as Joint Long-Term Storage Act, which seeks to improve long-duration energy storage technology through strategic collaboration between federal agencies, and the Next Generation Grid Resources and Infrastructure Development (GRID) Act which encourages energy independence, fosters innovation, and leverages federal resources to support a more resilient and modern electric grid. He is also a cosponsor of legislation to urge the administration to meet climate standards set by the Paris Climate Accord, as well as recent legislation that seeks for the U.S. to achieve at least 50 percent renewable electricity nationwide by 2035.