ARLINGTON, VA — The U.S. Senate passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act Wednesday by a vote of 85-12. This vote comes four months after a December 3, 2015, vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on its comprehensive energy legislation, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.
“Passage of this legislation shows that improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s homes, schools, and other buildings as well as moving toward a more flexible, resilient, and secure electric grid are citizen issues that should, and in this case did, rise above partisan paralysis,” said NEMA President and CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff. “We thank Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for their continued leadership as advocates for energy efficiency, grid modernization, and the electrical manufacturing industry.”
If enacted into law, the Energy Policy Modernization Act will increase the adoption of energy-efficient technologies in homes, schools, commercial buildings, and federal facilities. The bill contains provisions that would catalyze much-needed improvements to the U.S. electric infrastructure, including transmission, distribution, and energy storage systems. A full list of NEMA-supported sections of the bill is available on the NEMA Currents Blog.
During Senate debate, a NEMA-backed amendment was agreed to that removes solid-state lighting drivers from the scope of a Department of Energy rule establishing efficiency standards for external power supplies. The provision was co-led by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and had the support of Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The Senate and House must now reconcile differences between their two bills before passing final legislation to send to President Obama for his signature. NEMA will be working to ensure that lawmakers include industry priorities in the final bill.