President Obama signed the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 6582) on Wednesday after the bill received bipartisan support in Congress.
The law is a modification of the Enabling Energy Savings Innovations Act (H.R. 4850) and includes elements of the Shaheen-Portman senate bill.
Energy efficiency enthusiasts hailed the move, but also cautioned that there is far more work to be done.
“At a time that Washington is grid-locked, it is notable that the only energy bill with enough bipartisan support to pass is one that targets energy efficiency,” noted Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “This bill is a modest but bipartisan step forward, one we hope the next Congress can build upon.”
The bill had mostly minor changes to the current way of doing business. The highlights of the bill, which were listed by the Alliance to Save Energy, include:
- Coordination of research and development of efficiency technologies for industry;
- A study of barriers to industrial electrical efficiency;
- Best practices for advanced metering in the federal government;
- Disclosure of energy and water usage by federal facilities;
- Technical corrections and specific fixes to recently-enacted standards;
- Uniform treatment of conventional and tankless water heaters;
- Clarification of periodic review of commercial equipment standards and of DOE’s response to petitions regarding standards.
The bill also relaxes some standards, including rules for walk-in coolers, over-the-counter refrigerators and water heaters.
Energy efficiency advocates hope that this bill has laid the groundwork for more significant bills, such as the Shaheen-Portman bill which call for stronger national model building codes, more loan guarantees for efficiency upgrades and increased research and development on energy efficiency. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy supports the bills, but would also like to see changes to the tax code to spur investment in manufacturing efficiency.