Why the Shaheen-Portman Bill is a Big Deal for Energy Efficiency

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Anyone in favor of saving as much energy as California and Michigan use in a year?

That’s what the US can achieve with passage of the Energy Savings & Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (aka the Shaheen-Portman bill), according to a white paper recently released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The paper puts into perspective the economics of the bill, S. 1392, which is pending floor consideration when the Senate returns from recess. (Editor’s Note: See update on bill’s progress here.) Introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), the bill – and amendments that appear to have bipartisan support – could not only achieve the California/Michigan volume of energy savings by 2030, but also save consumers about $14.7 billion annually (after subtracting costs), ACEEE says. 

In all, the bill would cut energy use by 10.7 quads, most of that (8 quads) would come from improving building codes.

What else would the bill do? Among other things, it  creates worker training programs,  boosts various industrial efficiency efforts (Supply Star, Electric Motor Rebate and Transformer Rebate), requires the federal government to improve its data center energy saving efforts, promotes building benchmarking, offers programs to overcome the tenant/landlord split incentive problem, pushes school retrofits, and offers efficiency grants for non-profits.

ACEEE says that the bill, and likely amendments, would support more than 70,000 jobs by 2020, 143,000 by 2025 and 172,000 by 2030.

The private sector would pay for most of the energy efficiency improvements, about $67.2 billion by 2030. Total cost to government would be $2.6 billion.

“The Senate should act quickly to pass this important legislation,” said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director. “The provisions we analyzed have the power to save consumers money, stimulate the economy, and protect the environment.”

The full analysis is on the ACEEE site here.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


  1. Hi Elisa. This bill seems to be focused on electricity. The only fossil fuel savings would occur at the power plants with reducing electrical requirements.
    Am I right , or did I miss something?
    How many chimneys are poking out of large commercial buildings and industry? What is coming out of all these chimneys?
    If you check the EIA website and look at how much natural gas was consumed by industry and the commercial buildings and by the power plants. Almost 50-50
    Increasing electrical energy efficiency is good and it will help to reduce some fossil fuel load, but I believe that much more can be done to reduce global warming and CO2 emissions and conserve water at the other 50%.
    Thanks for your articles, and keeping us informed.


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