02/23/15 : Reed Brown

Senators Pryor and Udall, Congressman Hall Commit Years of Service to the Alliance

The Alliance to Save Energy is privileged to have influential Members of Congress serving as honorary members of our Board of Directors. Through their strong leadership, the Alliance has continued to advocate for the advancement of energy efficiency to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and energy security. In this series, we will highlight the excellent work of our Honorary Vice-Chairs and the states they represent. In this installment, we’re applauding the efficiency accomplishments of Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Congressman Ralph Hall of Texas and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and their years of service to the Alliance. 

Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ar.)

Building off a long a career in public service, first as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives and then as the Arkansas Attorney General, Sen. Pryor was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. Sen. Pryor has developed a reputation as a Senator that will work with members from both sides of the aisle to pass sensible legislation. In the realm of energy policy, Sen. Pryor understands that America needs to move beyond oil, gas and coal if it wants to become more energy independent. As such, he believes that America needs to focus on cleaner alternatives to traditional sources as well as renewable fuels. Sen. Pryor supports energy efficiency as a significant job creator and an effective way to achieve greater energy independence by reducing overall consumption. Sen. Pryor was involved in the process to increase national CAFE standards for the first time in nearly 20 years, and has supported clean energy tax credits, in particular the production tax credit for wind energy. Sen. Pryor’s work for energy efficiency and energy policy led to his election as Honorary Chair to the Board of Directors of the Alliance to Save Energy in 2005, then serving as Honorary Vice-Chair beginning in 2010. 

Sen. Pryor has consistently supported S. 2262, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014, which was introduced earlier this year by Alliance Honorary Vice-Chairs Sen. Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Portman (R-Oh.). The most recent version of the Shaheen-Portman bill included three amendments that Sen. Pryor helped to develop and introduce. These provisions — Federal Green Buildings, the Water Heater Efficiency Act and Third Party Testing — would have some significant impacts. The Federal Green Buildings provision would allow the General Services Administration to evaluate multiple green building rating systems, the Water Heater Efficiency Act would allow large grid-enabled water heaters to remain as an option for demand response programs and is estimated to have net annual savings of $1.87 billion by 2030 and Third Party Testing would require DOE to recognize voluntary, independent certification for several appliances and other products.

Arkansas

Arkansas has made improvements over the past few years to improve energy efficiency. In 2009, the state set up several goals to improve the energy efficiency of its public buildings, including an energy reduction target of 30 percent below 2008 levels by 2017 for major facilities, requiring all new construction to be at least 10 percent more efficient than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 and requiring every public agency to complete an energy audit within five years. Arkansas has set up a program designed to guide state agencies through the process of deploying energy savings performance contracts. Recently, the largest gains in energy efficiency deployment in Arkansas have occurred in the utility sector. Energy efficiency programs were first offered by utility companies in 2007, when the Rules for Conservation and Energy Efficiency Programs was approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission. These initial programs focused on weatherization and education, but with the implementation of a statewide energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) in 2010, the scope of the programs have greatly increased. The EERS requires annual electricity savings of 0.75 percent of retail sales for 2013-2014 and 0.9 percent for 2015 while annual savings for natural gas are 0.4 percent of retail sales for 2013-2014 and 0.6 percent in 2015.

Congressman Ralph Hall (R-Tx.-4)

Rep. Hall has built an impressive career in public service, which began when he was elected as the judge of Rockwall County in 1950. After stints in the Texas State Senate and the private sector, Rep. Hall was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 and served in each successive Congress through 2014. In recent years, Rep. Hall has set several impressive records including: the oldest person to ever serve in the House of Representatives and the oldest House member to ever cast a vote. These records are a testament to his hard work and popularity in representing the citizens of Texas’ 4th Congressional District.

In the 112th Congress, Rep. Hall has served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and remained a member of the Committee as the Chairman Emeritus during the 113th Congress. During his term as Chairman, Rep. Hall led efforts to advance research and development for new technologies, expanded production of America’s abundant energy resources and promoted science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Along with his role in that Committee, Rep. Hall is also a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Hall’s involvement in these two Committees over the years has put him in the perfect position to be an influential leader for energy efficiency.

When it comes to energy policy, he believes that America needs to invest in energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy, but that the nation cannot abandon traditional sources of fuel. Rep. Hall was an influential contributor to both the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and he greatly supported the increase in vehicle fuel efficiency standards, even saying that these standards should be implemented on a shorter timeline. Recently, Rep. Hall voted in favor of H.R.2126, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014, which would improve energy efficiency in federal and commercial buildings, data centers and water heaters. The collective efforts of Rep. Hall to advance energy efficiency led to his election to the Alliance to Save Energy’s Board of Directors as an Honorary Vice-Chair in 2005.

Texas

Over the years, Texas has implemented policies at the state level that have led to improvements in energy efficiency across several sectors. Buildings have garnered substantial attention with public buildings, state agencies and institutions of higher learning all required to report progress on self-determined energy savings goals using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. All residential, including single-family, multi-family and commercial buildings are required to comply with the 2009 IECC codes. Jurisdictions are allowed to adopt stricter standards and currently more than 50 jurisdictions, representing approximately 5.3 million people, have chosen to have stricter standards. On the utilities side, Texas first required electric utilities to meet energy efficiency goals in 1999, making it the first state in the country to implement an EERS. There are a number of programs in Texas that increase the accessibility of energy efficiency benefits to a greater portion of the state, such as LoanSTAR, a loan program for energy efficiency projects and energy performance contract programs offered through the Texas State Energy Conservation Office. Furthermore, Texas passed a law last year authorizing the use of performance assessed clean energy (PACE) financing to fund energy efficiency investments.

Senator Mark Udall (D-Co.)

Sen. Udall began his career in public service in 1996 when he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. After a brief, two-year stint in the State Legislature, Sen. Udall successfully campaigned to represent Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives and served for five consecutive terms before joining the U.S. Senate in 2008. Sen. Udall realizes the complexity of our national economy and the energy needed to power it, which is why he supports an inclusive energy production sector. As a proponent of the environment, he has become a powerful voice for renewable energy and energy efficiency legislation. His efforts led to election as an Honorary Vice-Chair of the Alliance to Save Energy, serving from 2010 - 2014.

Energy efficiency is certainly a priority for Sen. Udall, seen in the sheer volume of energy efficiency legislation that he has been involved in and through his roles as member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and former co-chair of the Senate Renewable Energy and Efficiency Caucus. Sen. Udall introduced S. 1261, the Energy Efficiency Government Technology Act, and also introduced, along with Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), S. 1084, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act. These two bills would have increased the energy efficiency in government data centers and improved the availability of programs to help schools be more energy efficient, respectively, and were included in the most recent version of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. Furthermore, Sen. Udall joined Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to introduce S. 2165, the Access to Consumer Energy Information (E-Access) Act, which would improve access to electricity consumption information for consumers. It would have also set up a program to increase the energy independence of military installations by incorporating advanced energy metering, renewable energy, energy storage and redundant power systems. Lastly, Sen. Udall was a co-sponsor of S. 1106, the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act, which would have resolved the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac issue pertaining to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing. 

Colorado

Colorado has consistently ranked as one of the stronger states for energy efficiency. The state government has been particularly active in trying to reduce consumption in schools with a current goal of using 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water, which is reflected in the work of Sen. Udall to improve energy efficiency in schools at the national level. Colorado has also incorporated ESPCs into its energy efficiency strategy and, as of 2011, 73% of state agencies have engaged in some form of ESPC. Furthermore, rules for ESPCs have since been altered to include the purchase of more efficient vehicles and to bolster the use of ESPCs in rural areas of the state. Rules for ESPCs have since been altered slightly to include the purchase of more efficient vehicles and to bolster the use of ESPCs in rural areas of the state. Colorado also has a significant role in research and development with the Engines and Energy Conversion Lab and Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University, the Renewable Sustainable Energy Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder and other facilities in the state. These labs also collaborate with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is one of the Department of Energy’s national labs. Colorado has also made strides to improve energy efficiency in the utility sector by implementing an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) in 2007. The two investor-owned utilities, Xcel Energy (operating as Public Service of Colorado) and Black Hills Energy, have energy savings targets that began as 0.8 percent of sales in 2011 and will increase to 1.35 percent in 2015 before transitioning to a flat goal of 400 GWh per year through 2020. For natural gas, utilities must achieve savings commensurate with spending targets, which must be at least 0.5 percent of the prior year’s revenue.

Conclusion

We at the Alliance consider ourselves fortunate to have such strong proponents for energy efficiency as our Honorary Vice-Chairs. We honor them for their tireless support of energy efficiency and their support of the goal to double our nation’s energy productivity by 2030