Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESICA), S. 761. This bipartisan legislation will spur the use of energy efficiency technologies across residential, commercial and industrial sectors, while fostering job creation. Energy efficiency is the best way to address our energy needs, increase the competitiveness of our businesses and create sustainable jobs. ESICA is supported by over 200 entities, from industry to environmentalists, ranging from Dow Chemical to the Sierra Club. This broad support illustrates the value of identifying points of consensus and how energy efficiency is such an area of consensus. The sponsoring senators have continually sought feedback from experts across an array of stakeholder groups to achieve such wide support.

This bill has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs and save consumers billions of dollars during the coming years. A study conducted last year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy indicated that last year’s version of this bill could have created 80,000 jobs and saved consumers $4 billion dollars annually on energy bills by 2020, with a potential to reach 159,000 jobs and $20 billion in annual savings by 2030.

ESICA uses a variety of low-cost tools to reduce barriers for private sector energy users and will drive adoption of off-the-shelf efficiency technologies among the largest energy consumers. It will strengthen model building codes, train next generation high-efficiency building designers and operators, and kick start private investments through the Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Financing Initiative. It will also enhance R&D and technical assistance to help manufacturers reduce energy costs and improve competitiveness. And it will encourage supply chain energy efficiency. It will also require the federal government, the largest consumer of energy in the country, to implement energy saving techniques that will save taxpayer dollars.

Support for this bill includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Alliance to Save Energy, among many others. This renewed push for energy efficiency has broad, bipartisan support. The American people deserve an energy policy that is good for the economy and the environment. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act is exactly that.

What are your views on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act? Do you have recommendations for improving it?