Small Biz Energy Efficiency Bill Introduced

May 24, 2011

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently introduced legislation that would create a national energy-efficiency strategy. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 1000) contains several initiatives aimed at reducing barriers for businesses, homeowners and consumers looking to adopt off-the-shelf energy-efficiency technologies. The bill focuses on deploying already mature technologies, such as better insulation, computer-controlled thermostats, and more efficient electric motors to help keep the country’s economy competitive.

Small manufacturers would be offered a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rebate program that provides incentives for the purchase of more energy-efficient electric motors. According to the DOE, electric motors consume over 25 perent of the electricity in the U.S. and many currently operate inefficiently.

The legislation also would provide competitive grants to industry and small businesses, to spur the development, deployment, and commercialization of innovative energy-efficient technologies and processes.

Small businesses serviced by a Rural Electric Cooperative could reduce their energy use by participating in a program whereby the co-ops would offer low-interest, microloans for energy-efficiency upgrades to their small business and residential customers. Customers would repay the loans over 10 years through their electric bills, at an interest rate of not more than three percent.  A similar, existing program run through New Hampshire Rural Electric Cooperative found that participants cut their electricity use by one third through efficiency improvements.

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