Senate Holds Hearing on Energy Efficiency Efforts in the United States and Internationally

Oct 31, 2019

by ASME.org

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources recently held a hearing on “Energy Efficiency Efforts in the United States and Internationally.” The purpose of the hearing was to examine international efforts to increase energy efficiency and identify opportunities to advance energy efficiency in the United States. Four key witnesses from the U.S. and abroad gave testimony on how increased energy efficiency can help the United States and international partners achieve their economic goals. For instance, witnesses asserted that the U.S. could more than double domestic energy efficiency rates solely by implementing technology that exists today. Beyond better utilizing current technology, witnesses testified on the importance of committing to making stronger investments in research and development (R&D) to more quickly realize the global benefits of energy efficiency technologies.
 
Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) opened the hearing stating that efficiency is key to making energy more affordable and will play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ranking Member Joe Manchin followed, acknowledging that energy efficiency is cheaper than investing in any type of new generation and that it is a proven source for job creation in the United States. Not only does increased efficiency create more domestic jobs, but it will also allow the U.S. to produce more gross domestic product (GDP) for the same amount of energy output, saving individual Americans money and making the overall economy stronger.
 
The following four witnesses provided testimony at the hearing:
  • Dr. Brian Motherway, Head of Energy Efficiency, International Energy Agency
  • Mr. Daniel Bresette, Executive Director, Environmental and Energy Study Institute
  • Ms. Jennifer Layke, Global Director for Energy, World Resources Institute
  • Mr. W. Scott Tew, Executive Director, Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) was granted the first question, first sharing his own views on how the United States has made great strides in addressing emissions and energy use. He commented that the progress made by the U.S. is not only good for the environment, but for consumers as well. He went on to ask the panel how the technologies developed in the United States can be exported to countries like China to better fight emissions globally. Panelists answered in turn sharing that they are encouraged by the technical progress made in the United States and believe domestic advances have great export potential. While witnesses did share in their eagerness to better utilize existing technologies, they too shared excitement for advancing technologies beyond current capabilities. One witness, Ms. Jennifer Layke, even ended her testimony with the following statement:
 
“U.S. products and technology must remain on the cutting edge of efficiency if we are to compete in emerging markets and with multinational companies’ product expectations. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has the opportunity to chart a course using data and information on the best available policy options and help ensure that our efforts on RD&D, fiscal and tax policy, equipment and appliance codes and standards and, leading by example, chart a course to global competitiveness and secure Americans’ energy future.”
 
To view a recording of the full hearing or read witness testimony, please visit the Committee’s webpage.

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