GGAC

GGAC List of Local Government Officials

 

GGAC Update 04/22/2016

 The US Senate has passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act (EPMA) by a vote of 85 to 12! The No’s are Senators Boozman (R-AR), Cotton (R-AR), Lankford (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Perdue (R-GA), Rubio (R-FL), Sasse (R-NE), Scott (R-SC), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), and Toomey (R-PA). The last time such legislation passed was in 2007.

 This bill contains none of the building energy codes provisions we oppose and only includes those we support.

 The following amendments were agreed to:

Isakson amend #3202 (SAVE Act). The amendment is agreed to by a vote of 66-31 – ASHRAE supported

Murkowski amend #3234 (Resources title), as modified. The amendment is agreed to by a vote of 97-0

Burr amend #3175 (Corolla Wild Horses), as modified. The amendment is agreed to by Voice Vote.

Cassidy amend #2954 (Maximize SPR Sale Revenue). The amendment is agreed to by Voice Vote.

 The following amendments were agreed to en bloc by voice vote:

Gillibrand amend #3004 (Disaster relief efficient appliances) – ASHRAE supported

Udall amend #3221 (Water sense) – ASHRAE supported

Cantwell amend #3276 (Striking certain provisions)

Klobuchar amend #3302 (Modifying a provision), as modified

Flake amend #3055 (WAPA Pilot Project)

Flake amend #3050 (DOE Grants Information)

Hatch amend #3237 (Internet Auctions)

Murkowski amend #3308 (Denali and gasoline)

Heller amend #3286 (PLREDA), as modified

Vitter amend #3075 (Well control small business)

Portman amend #3168 (EPS)

Shaheen amend #3292 (Waste heat and CHP), as modified

Heinrich amend #3155 (Minority-serving institutions)

Manchin amend #3270 (Carbon sequestration program)

Cantwell amend #3313 (SOS Accelerating Energy Innovation), as modified

Cantwell amend #3214 (DOE Emergency Response)

Vitter amend #3266 (Helicopter fuel)

Sullivan amend #3310 (Survey correction Swan Lake)

Heinrich amend #3317 (Lab-directed R&D cost allocation)

Vitter amend #3265 (Maritime workforce), as modified

Kaine amend #3012 (Rockingham County)

Alexander amend #3290 (Batteries)

Warner amend #3233 (Administrative exchange for GW Parkway), as modified

Thune amend #3239 (High-energy physics subcommittee)

Coons amend #3203 (Study cost-share waivers)

Portman amend #3309 (NPS Centennial), as modified

Flake amend #3229 (Solar avian impact study)

Inhofe amend #3251 (Natural gas vehicles)

Murkowski amend # 2963 (RIS fix)

 This is a significant win for ASHRAE, our members, and many partners. Congratulations to everyone for your tireless efforts over the years!! The following quote from ASHRAE President David Underwood is expected to be posted to the US Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee website in the near future:

“The passage of the Energy Policy Modernization Act demonstrates the power of persistent bipartisan leadership by many leaders throughout the Senate. Each of these Senators understand the need for reform and the dangers that lie ahead if we do not change,” said ASHRAE President David Underwood. “This accomplishment is shared by hundreds of stakeholders who have connected with Members of Congress, helping them understand the complexities and likely impacts of legislation on the building and many other industries. ASHRAE congratulates the Senate on this accomplishment and stands ready to assist as leaders in both Chambers work to produce a final bill that the President can sign, and which truly advances the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.”

 The path forward is clear but rocky. House and Senate Leadership will soon appoint Members of Congress to serve on a conference committee that will produce a final compromise bill that merges the EPMA (S.2012) with the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R.8). This final bill will then receive a final up or down vote in both the House and Senate, before being sent to US President Barack Obama for his signature or veto.

 Our greatest concern is that the harmful building energy codes language in H.R.8 makes it into the final bill. Thankfully, Fortune is in our corner. US President Obama’s earlier veto threat on H.R.8 cited the bill’s building energy codes provisions as one of his main problems with the legislation, and I have been assured by senior Energy & Natural Resources Committee staff that the building energy codes provisions that ASHRAE supports in the Senate bill are non-negotiable. While nothing is certain, this means that it is unlikely the codes provisions we oppose will make it into law, and our current activities and operations will be protected. That said, I’ll be in close touch with folks on the Hill and will likely reach out to some of you for assistance in identifying key constituents of the conferees (once appointed) that can effectively convey our messages and recommendations to the key players.

 

Climate Change Bill  09-22-15

US Senate Democrats today unveiled a new bill today on climate change mitigation and energy improvement.  As you’ll see, this is a far-ranging bill of 437 pages addressing almost anything you can think of (including tax reform!) related to energy and climate issues.

Here’s a bit of background and the list of things in the legislation that are most likely to grab our attention:

  • The bill is basically a wish list for Senate Democrats and has almost no chance of passage. HOWEVER this will be a big focus for Democrats for the rest of the 2015 and 2016, and if there are smaller spinoff bills (which I think is likely), then many of the ideas will likely come from this legislation, so it’s very important that we provide feedback to Congress on this and stay involved.

 

This brings the total number of comprehensive energy bills in the Senate up to three – this bill, plus the Energy Policy Modernization Act and Portman-Shaheen (the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act)

  • There is NO dedicated building energy codes section in this legislation.
  • Very few stakeholders were consulted on what should be in this bill. I first heard about it about two weeks ago, but Senate staff didn’t want to release any definitive details.
  • Enhanced grid cybersecurity

 

May have implications for BACnet and Standard 135, Standard 201P, Guideline 13, Standard 205P, building sensors and monitors, etc.

  • Net metering – Would require DOE to establish guidance for studies on benefits and costs of net metering policies.
  • Would create a DOE demonstration grant program on smart meters, rooftop solar, demand response, micro-grids, and electric vehicles.
  • Would create a DOE to develop and provide to states and other energy planners and regulators a set of tools to help guide modernization of the grid

 

Standard 201P seems like a possible fit here.

  • Requires DOE to develop detailed illustrative policies that state and regional planners and regulators could adopt to modernize the grid. It would create a steering committee to facilitate the development of these pathways and would authorize the Department of Energy to provide technical and financial assistance.

 

Standard 201P seems like a possible fit here as well.

  • Would set up a National Center for Excellence for the 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board that would support the design and replication of energy curriculum and workforce training to be implemented in the states.

 

Our training, courses, and publications seem to be prime candidates for inclusion in the recommendations from this board.

  • Would create an Energy Workforce Pilot Grant Program – Grants would be for up to $1 million, with authorized funding for each fiscal year 2016 through 2019.
  • Support for distributed generation (solar, geothermal) in low-income areas.
  • Would set parameters for a national energy efficiency resource standard that would be administered by each State.
  • DOE would establish a pilot program to award grants for retrofitting nonprofit buildings with energy efficiency improvements. There would be a 50% non-federal matching requirement. $10 million would be authorized each fiscal year from 2016 to 2020.
  • Would reauthorize the Weatherization Assistance Program from 2016 to 2020 with an authorized level of $450 million each fiscal year.
  • Require DOE to make competitive grants to non-profits to help low-income homes make energy efficient improvements and retrofits. The grants could be used for energy efficiency audits, retrofits, materials and supplies, organizational capacity, management and administration, oversight and monitoring, quality control, data collection, and technical assistance.
  • Would reauthorize the State Energy Program for fiscal years 2016 through 2020 at $75 million each fiscal year.
  • Would allow a federal agency to enter into a utility energy service contract for up to 25 years.
  • Establish a program to provide loans to a state, territory, or tribal organization for establishing or expanding programs to providing financing for energy efficiency upgrades to residential buildings.
  • Would establish a pilot program for municipalities, utilities, water district, or any other authority that provides water, wastewater, or water reuse services, to demonstrate novel and innovative technology-based solutions to increase the energy efficiency and water conservation in water, wastewater, and water reuse systems.
  • Would help develop regional energy partnerships to coordinate and promote national, regional, and state energy goals, especially goals focused on advancing resilient energy systems to mitigate risks and prepare for emerging energy challenges.
  • Requires DOE to set up a State thermal and electric energy productivity innovation challenge. Up to 25 States would be eligible to receive grants of between $500,000 and $1.75 million.
  • Requires DOE to establish a Smart Building Accelerator as part of the Better Buildings Challenge to demonstrate policies and approaches that accelerate the transition to smart buildings.
  • Would require DOE to conduct a study on the costs and benefits of smart buildings.
  • Would require DOE to submit to Congress a study on the impact of state and local performance benchmarking and disclosure policies for commercial and multifamily buildings and programs, and on programs and systems in which utilities provide aggregated information regarding whole building energy consumption and usage information to the owners of multitenant commercial, residential, and mixed-use buildings.
  • Establishes a “WaterSense Program” within EPA to promote water efficient products, buildings, landscapes, facilities, processes, and services to be used with the EPA Energy Star label if appropriate. The bill authorizes $5 million a year to be appropriated to support this effort.

 

IAPMO is strongly in support of this.

  • Would authorize the Advanced Research Project Agency- Energy (ARPA-E) at $1 billion for each fiscal year from 2016 through 2020.
  • Would create performance-based incentives for new and existing homes. The credits are based on the overall level of energy reduction. For new residences, buildings that are at least 25 percent more efficient than the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code baseline receive a minimum $1,500 tax credit. More efficient homes receive a larger credit, up to a maximum of $3,000. The credit is provided to the contractor who builds and sells the residence. Homeowners looking to pursue deep energy retrofits can qualify for a $1,750 credit if they achieve a 20 percent energy reduction. Greater efficiency gains receive larger credit amounts, up to a maximum of $6,500.

 

This is based on the tax proposal we worked on with ACEEE, NEMA, USGBC, AIA, ASE, and others.

  • The bill creates a performance-based incentive for increased energy conservation in new commercial buildings and for retrofits of commercial buildings. Buildings reaching minimum conservation thresholds receive a small deduction, which increases for more efficient buildings. Non-taxed entities, including federal, state, local, and tribal governments, and nonprofits, are allowed to allocate deductions to the taxpayer primarily responsible for designing the efficiency improvements. New commercial buildings that are at least 25 percent more efficient than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 can receive a $1.00 per square foot tax deduction, which increases with larger efficiency gains, up to a maximum of $4.75 per square foot. Retrofitted commercial buildings can qualify for a $1.25 per square foot deduction for a 20 percent reduction in energy use – greater energy reductions qualify for larger incentives, up to a maximum of $9.25 per square foot.

 

This is based on the tax proposal we worked on with ACEEE, NEMA, USGBC, AIA, ASE, and others.