Subcommittee Examines Bass Legislation to Improve Energy Efficiency, Cost Savings

Head of UNH energy systems testifies about university’s success with combined heat and power technology, a key tenet of Bass’ bill

WASHINGTON – The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power heard testimony earlier today from experts, including the Assistant Vice President of campus energy systems at the University of New Hampshire, about how bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Charles F. Bass (NH-02) will get the federal government and many businesses on a path to greater energy efficiency and cost savings.

The hearing examined Bass’ bipartisan Smart Energy Act, which will improve the federal government’s efforts to better manage energy consumption, encourage innovations in new energy efficiency technologies by leveraging private sector investments, and set a strategic goal to double electricity production through efficient technologies like combined heat and power and waste heat recovery.  The bill also examines ways to support innovative manufacturing processes to reduce industrial energy consumption.

Bass said:

“Today’s hearing furthered the ongoing discussion about how we can move from focusing solely on the supply side of the energy debate to the demand side as well.  Improving energy efficiency is a clean and cheap way to reduce our energy costs and holds tremendous potential for new innovations and economic growth. 

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this issue and hope we can move forward on solutions over the next few months that both the House and Senate can agree on as we continue our national energy debate.”

Paul Chamberlin, the Assistant Vice President of Energy and Campus Development at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), testified before the subcommittee about UNH’s success with a new cogeneration system used to heat the campus and provide electricity that has generated an estimated $3 million in savings last year alone in addition to reduced emissions and demand on the regional energy grid.  The university’s new cogeneration system, called ECOLine, is unique in that it uses landfill gas as its primary source of fuel, one of the only institutions of higher learning to do so.

In his testimony, Chamberlin noted his support for Bass’ legislation and specifically the bill’s goal of doubling combined heat and power production by 2020.  Chamberlin stated that “[c]ogeneration also offers much greater efficiency in the way fuel energy is converted into useable forms of heat and electrical energy and thus reduces the demand on our energy supply…Based on our experience at the University of New Hampshire, I strongly believe cogeneration systems should be encouraged as a matter of sound business and good public policy.”

Bass said, “Paul’s testimony today gave members a terrific firsthand account of the benefits of developing and utilizing energy efficiency technologies like combined heat and power.  His leadership helped to move New Hampshire’s largest university toward reduced energy consumption and cost savings for the taxpayer and we can use UNH’s experience as a model for the rest of the nation.”

“I applaud Rep. Bass for his leadership in drafting the Smart Energy Act. We can reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency and the federal government can lead on that by example. This bill is a step in that direction,” Rep. Ed Whitfield, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said.

Bass’ legislation has received broad support among trade associations and businesses, including the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Chemistry Council, Dow Chemical, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Electric Contractors Association, Pew Charitable Trusts, Schneider Electric, and United Technologies, among others.

Kateri Callahan, the President of the Alliance to Save Energy, stated in her testimony this afternoon that “Congressmen Bass and Matheson have drafted a bipartisan measure that will move our country significantly closer toward enactment of energy efficiency legislation this year that can create jobs and benefit the nation’s economy.”

VIDEO of Bass introducing Chamberlin and discussing his Smart Energy Act:

VIDEO of Chamberlin’s opening statement before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power: