SHAHEEN CALLS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Speaks at Alliance to Save Energy’s Great Energy Efficiency Day

February 16, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) discussed the need for bipartisan action on energy efficiency during a keynote speech at the Alliance to Save Energy's Great Energy Efficiency Day.

Shaheen is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Honorary Chair of the Alliance to Save Energy.

Launched in 2004, Great Energy Efficiency Day hosts discussions on the need for, and benefits of, energy efficiency, drawing more than 400 stakeholders from business, industry, government, academia, and the public interest sector. The event features panel sessions with leading voices in energy efficiency and keynote addresses from congressional members.

Some excerpts of her prepared remarks are below:

"Taking action on energy policy this Congress is imperative.  It is necessary to grow our economy and create jobs, end our unacceptable dependence on foreign oil and lead in the global clean energy race.

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"Energy efficiency is something we in Congress should all be able to agree on.  It saves consumers and businesses money.  It keeps our country competitive in an increasingly global economy.  Politically, it breaks through the traditional regional divides on energy policy.  There's not a state in this country that can't utilize energy efficiency technologies.  Finally, these technologies exist today and a significant portion of them are made right here in the U.S. 

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"Energy efficiency is something I've been interested in for a long time.  When the oil crisis of the 1970's was fresh in everyone's mind, my husband and I took advantage of the incentives President Carter put in place to build our house as energy efficient as possible.  During my time in the New Hampshire State Senate and later as Governor, I made energy efficiency a major priority.  In fact, it's estimated that the programs my administration put in place to support energy efficiency have saved New Hampshire consumers over $1 billion.

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"There's so much opportunity here, across all sectors of our economy.  Let's just look at electricity.  In the U.S., about half of our electricity is produced from coal and even the most efficient coal-fired plants achieve around 40 percent efficiency.  That leaves 60 percent in wasted energy that goes right up the smoke stack.  Technologies exist today -such as more efficient boilers, insulation, and waste heat recovery systems - to make these plants more efficient. 

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"Our buildings, appliances, and equipment consume vast amounts of electrical power.   According to the Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings account for more than 40% of total energy consumption in the U.S.  Improving building efficiency though more efficient heating and cooling systems, and better insulation, lighting, windows and so on, we can dramatically reduce the amount of electricity we need to produce.

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"A renewed focus on energy efficiency makes so much sense.  The technologies are commercially available today - they're not "moon shots" - and many of them are made right here in the U.S.  Finding common ground on energy efficiency is something Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on. With the right policies in place, we can tap into the very best of American innovation and ingenuity to unleash the power of energy efficiency.

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"Small businesses are helping to lead the way in efficiency innovation, and we're fortunate to have one of them - New Hampshire's own Warner Power - with us today.  Last year, they hosted me and Acting Undersecretary Cathy Zoi to showcase their work in developing highly efficient transformers.  We both came away impressed with their technology's ability to save energy for buildings and in the power sector.

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"The case for energy efficiency is clear.  We need to stay focused on the real benefits of energy efficiency: jobs, saving consumers and businesses money, keeping our economy competitive, and improving our national security.  With your help, we can pass a comprehensive energy efficiency bill in this Congress.

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