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The Architecture of Abundance: Summary of Energy and Power Committee Print

Aug 4, 2015

The Architecture of Abundance

Summary of Energy and Power Committee Print

Title I – Modernizing and Protecting Infrastructure

Promotes Natural Gas Pipeline Development:

  • Reinforces the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the lead agency to recommend the scope of environmental review and establish a schedule, including a deadline for final decisions for interstate natural gas pipelines. 
  • Requires FERC to track, and make available on its website, information related to the review of applications requiring multiple federal authorizations.

Enhances Grid Security and Emergency Preparedness for Energy Supply Disruptions:

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Energy to issue orders to protect the bulk power system or defense critical electric infrastructure during grid security emergencies, and facilitates the protection and sharing of critical electric infrastructure information between the private sector, federal and state governments, and regional reliability entities.
  • Directs the Secretary of Energy to adopt procedures to enhance communication and coordination between DOE, federal partners, state and local governments, and the private sector to improve emergency response and recovery.

Protects Against Grid Emergencies:

  • Requires DOE to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a Strategic Transformer Reserve to safeguard against reliability risks, including physical and cyber-attack, electromagnetic pulse, geomagnetic disturbances, severe weather, and seismic events. 
  •  Establishes a voluntary "Cyber Sense" program to identify and promote cyber-secure products intended for use in the bulk power system. 
  • Clarifies that electric generators do not have to choose between complying with an emergency order to operate issued by the Secretary of Energy and violating environmental laws. 

Encourages Resilient Infrastructure:

  • Increases the use of resiliency-related technologies and promotes investments in advanced energy technologies that yield cost savings and reliability benefits.

Title II – 21st Century Workforce

Supports Energy and Manufacturing Workforce Development:

  • Directs DOE to establish a program to improve education and training for energy and manufacturing related jobs, with special consideration given to employers and job trainers preparing displaced and underrepresented minority energy and manufacturing workers to re-enter the workforce.

Title III – Energy Security and Diplomacy

Recognizes U.S. Energy Abundance and Promotes Enhanced Energy Security:

  • Directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a new process for assessing energy-related actions that takes into consideration the effects of such action on energy security. 
  • Requires the Secretary to (1) report to Congress on how to improve planning and coordination with Canada and Mexico to enhance energy integration and North American energy security; and (2) convene at least 1 trans-Atlantic and 1 trans-Pacific forum to foster dialogue among allies and trading partners on how to promote energy security.
  • Calls for a DOE review to specify the near and long-term roles of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and recommend actions to achieve optimal functionality.

Title IV – Energy Efficiency and Accountability

Increases Federal Agency Energy Efficiency to save Taxpayer Money:

  • Requires federal agencies to develop a strategy for the maintenance, purchase, and use of energy efficient technologies with OMB tracking their progress. 
  • Improves the energy efficiency of federal data centers.
  • Reports on energy and water savings potential from thermal insulation.
  • Expands the definition of "renewable energy" to include thermal energy and qualified waste heat, and excludes certain recyclable paper from the definition of "municipal solid waste."

Promotes Private Sector Innovation and Energy Efficient Technology:

  • Directs the FTC to develop Energy Guide labels that promote smart grid capabilities of products.
  • Requires DOE to recognize voluntary verification programs for HVAC products for compliance with DOE efficiency standards and the Energy Star program.
  • Provides gas furnace stakeholders the opportunity to continue negotiations for gas furnace standards.
  • Directs DOE-funded Industrial Assessment Centers to identify opportunities for optimizing energy efficiency and to coordinate with federal and private sector partners.

Enhances Energy Performance Contracting:

  • Requires DOE to report on federal Energy Savings Performance Contracts, including investment value, guaranteed vs. actual savings.
  • Clarifies what qualifies as "energy savings."

Facilitates Energy Retrofitting for Schools:

  • Directs DOE to establish a clearinghouse to disseminate information regarding available programs and financing to promote energy efficiency in schools.

Promotes Accountability and Transparency for Regulators:

  • Requires FERC to establish an Office of Compliance Assistance and Public Participation to be responsible for promoting improved compliance with Commission regulations. 

To view a copy of the Committee Print, click here