The Energy Policy Act attempts to combat growing energy problems and change U.S. energy policy by providing tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of various types. Congress has recognized that increased energy efficiency could reduce demand and thereby lessen the need for new fuel sources and facilities.
To foster the efficient use of energy and increased conservation, Congress established various federal programs such as:
- Energy and water savings measures in congressional buildings – To institute these concepts in congressional buildings, the Act requires the Architect of the Capitol to develop and implement an energy and water conservation plan for congressional buildings[i].
- Energy management requirements – The Act established a target of twenty percent reduction in energy consumption per gross square foot to be achieved in two percent increments during 2006-2015[ii].
- Procurement of energy efficient products – The Act requires federal agencies to incorporate into the specifications for all procurements involving energy products and systems criteria for energy efficiency that are consistent with the criteria used for rating Energy Star products and products rated by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)[iii].
- Energy savings performance contracts – The Act give federal agencies until October 1, 2016, to enter into contracts to achieve energy savings and related benefits[iv].
- Voluntary commitments to reduce industrial energy intensity – The Act authorizes the Secretary of Energy to enter into voluntary agreements with industrial customers that consume significant amounts of energy for each unit of output to reduce their energy demand per unit of output by 2.5% annually for the 2007-2016 time frame.
- Advanced building efficiency testbed – The Act requires the DOE, in conjunction with the General Services Administration (GSA), to establish a program for the development, testing, and demonstration of advanced engineering systems, components, and materials to enable innovations in building technology.
- Increased use of recovered mineral components in federally-funded projects involving procurement of cement or concrete – The Act promotes the increased use of recovered mineral components in federally-funded highway or other transportation facilities, or in a federal, state, or local government building or other public facility that involves the use or procurement of cement or concrete.
- Federal building performance standards –The Act revise the standards developed for federal buildings to require economically-justified energy efficiency measures[v].
Apart from the federal programs, Congress established various state programs such as:
- Low income home energy assistance program – The Act appropriates $5.1 billion for each of fiscal years 2005-2007 for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide grants to states to assist low income households in paying for energy costs[vi].
- Weatherization assistance – Consistent with Congress’ intent to improve the energy efficiency of low income housing, the Act appropriates $500 million, $600 million, and $700 million for fiscal years 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively, to provide grants to weatherize such dwellings[vii].
- Energy efficient appliance rebate program – Congress created an incentive for states to develop energy efficient appliance programs that provide rebates to residential consumers for the purchase of residential Energy Star products to replace used appliances of the same type[viii].
- Energy efficient public buildings – The Act authorizes the DOE to provide grants to states to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings and facilities[ix].
- Low income community energy efficiency pilot program – The Act authorizes the DOE to provide grants to units of local government, private, non-profit community development organizations, and Indian tribe economic development entities to identify and develop alternative, renewable, and distributed energy supplies and to support projects that increase energy conservation in low income rural and urban communities[x].
- State technologies advancement collaborative – In cooperation with states, the DOE should establish a collaborative program for research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies in support of common federal and state interests in energy efficiency and renewable and fossil energy[xi].
[i] 42 USCS § 8259a.
[ii] 42 USCS § 8253.
[iii] 42 USCS § 8259b.
[iv] 42 USCS § 8287.
[v] 42 USCS § 8253.
[vi] 42 USCS § 8621.
[vii] 42 USCS § 6863.
[viii] 42 USCS § 15821.
[ix] 42 USCS § 15822.
[x] 42 USCS § 15823.
[xi] 42 USCS § 15824.