May 13, 2015

Hirono Authors Clean Energy Legislation

Legislation Focuses On Investment & Innovation For A More Sustainable Future

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced a package of energy bills this week that highlight her commitment to spurring innovation and investment in clean energy in Hawaii and across the country:

“While Hawaii leads the way in clean energy goals, we still face the highest energy costs in the nation and are committed to transitioning away from our dependence on fossil fuels and towards clean sources of energy,” said Senator Hirono. “Our island state leads the nation in setting goals to generate electricity from renewable sources—40 percent from renewable electricity by 2030, and just recently, passing legislation that would increase the goal to 100 percent by 2045. The bills I’ve introduced this week will put us on the path to diversifying our energy sources, increasing our energy security, creating a more sustainable future by bringing the private and public sector together to accelerate innovation of our electric power grid, enable federal agencies to save energy, and make it easier for clean energy entrepreneurs and manufacturers to access new markets and opportunities. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I’ll continue fighting for investments in the clean energy economy as we transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

The Next Generation Electric Systems Act (S. 1207) would bring together expertise from the public and private sectors to drive innovation in the ability of the electric power grid to provide affordable and reliable electricity from increasingly clean energy sources. This legislation would help advance Hawaii’s electric power systems in line with goals set by the state. In 2009, Hawaii  set a statewide goal in 2009 of generating 40 percent of Hawaii’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Just last week, the state legislature updated the state goal to seek 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. The competitive grant program in the Next Generation Electric Systems Act would help electric systems in Hawaii and across the country accommodate additional renewable sources, energy storage systems, and distributed generation with a focus on delivering affordable and reliable service to communities.

The Federal Energy Savings Enhancement Act (S. 1277), which is cosponsored by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would allow federal agencies to make use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts to reduce the costs of fuel for mobile applications such as more efficient automobile fleets, energy efficient lighting in naval vessels, or deployable generators. Energy Savings Performance Contracts allows  a federal agency to partner with a private energy service company, which identifies ways the agency can save energy.  The company makes the changes and guarantees that the improvements will result in energy cost savings used to pay back the project over the course of the contract.  The agency benefits from all additional costs savings. This bill expands opportunities beyond buildings for the federal government to reduce its energy bills and save taxpayer money. 

Additionally, Senator Hirono introduced legislation last week that was recently referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  

The Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing And Export Assistance Act (S. 1263) will help small and medium sized clean technology businesses find new markets in the United States and around the world by creating a Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Fund administered by the International Trade Administration. The Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Fund will assist clean technology firms with export assistance including finding and navigating foreign markets to export their goods and services abroad. Furthermore, the bill will expand domestic clean technology manufacturing industry by  promoting policies that will reduce production costs and encourage innovation, investment, and productivity in the domestic clean energy technology industry, which will help domestic companies increase demand and create jobs. Congresswoman Doris Matsui has introduced the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.