- In a bipartisan vote, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, Smart Grid News reports.
- The measure includes energy efficiency provisions, grid protection measures and directives to streamline the approval of liquefied natural gas exports.
- The final version approved by the committee, broken into four titles, takes many recommendations from the Department of Energy's Quadrennial Energy Review.
Spanning multiple Congresses and political parties, the Energy and Commerce Committee is celebrating the passage out of broad energy legislation that envisions an "architecture of abundance" while also seeking to protect crucial infrastructure.
In a statement, Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said the vote "marks an important milestone as we work to update our laws for a new era of abundance. ... We will continue working toward building a bipartisan consensus as our goal remains getting something to the president’s desk that will be signed into law. We are on to the floor."
The legislation calls for reinvesting in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and hardening and modernizing energy infrastructure to withstand cyber attacks, severe weather, and electromagnetic pulse attacks. The bill would also streamline the approval of LNG exports and by provide improved coordination on energy diplomacy issues with Canada and Mexico.
The bill would also extend existing federal building energy efficiency improvement targets, and would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to review the results of the implementation of energy performance requirements and to "analyze the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of extending the energy savings targets."
The bill has "the potential to unleash more economic growth and jobs, a more affordable and secure supply of energy, and would help advance our foreign policy objectives," said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, (R-KY). "Our energy picture is changing and our energy laws need to change with it. H.R. 8 brings our energy policy out of the 1970s and into the 21st century.”
Some advocacy groups expressed concern after the vote on the bill's potential impacts on energy efficiency. The Alliance to Save Energy released a statement saying the efficiency provisions in the bill are small peanuts compared to other sections that it says could impede progress in the construction sector, particularly on building energy codes.