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Shaheen successfully inserted provisions to help NH biomass and energy efficiency industries in the bipartisan American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009

(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and her colleagues on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today passed landmark energy legislation through the committee to help America become energy independent by investing in renewable energy and to help create clean energy jobs in New Hampshire and across the nation. The American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) of 2009 would create a national renewable electricity standard requiring 15% of the nation's energy to come from renewable sources by 2021, would lay the foundation for a new interstate electricity transmission system, and would protect consumers by bringing enhanced transparency and oversight to the nation's energy markets. In committee meetings, Shaheen authored and successfully passed provisions to boost New Hampshire's biomass industry and to help reduce energy costs to New Hampshire businesses by promoting energy efficiency. 

"New Hampshire has long been in a leader on clean and renewable energy, and our state is well-positioned to best realize the promise of a new American clean energy economy," said Shaheen. "This legislation would offer a boost to New Hampshire's significant biomass industry, help lower energy costs for businesses and consumers alike, and create good jobs across the state. It's a good start, but there's more to do to make America energy independent."

The ACELA would for the first time set a national renewable electricity standard (RES) that sets a goal of producing 15% of the nation's energy from renewable resources by 2020. The RES will boost New Hampshire's wind, biomass and other renewable energy producers by granting them credits for the energy they produce that they can sell to other energy producers, creating a whole new market and revenue stream for the state's renewable energy producers. The ACELA also would create a new bottoms-up planning system for creating a national electricity transmission grid based on regional, state, and local planning and input, ensuring that costs of the new grid are shared fairly. And the ACELA would protect energy consumers by increasing the transparency and oversight of energy markets, giving U.S. energy regulators the same strong enforcement authorities against market tampering and manipulation that are now available in financial markets. The ACELA passed the Energy Committee with bipartisan support 15-8 and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

Shaheen fought to include and improve numerous provisions of the ACELA to give New Hampshire's growing renewable energy and energy conservation industries a boost. Specifically, Shaheen worked on provisions to:

Reduce Energy Costs for New Hampshire Businesses Through Energy Efficiency. Shaheen worked to include provisions that will help New Hampshire businesses save money on energy costs and will support the state's energy efficiency industry. The provision will help manufacturers and industry with financing to become more energy efficient and will support New Hampshire companies such as Warner Power in Warner, New Hampshire, which makes highly efficient electric transformers.

"Senator Shaheen's work on the Energy Bill will help businesses across the state save money by reducing their energy use, and that's good news for Warner Power where we help reduce energy use with our energy efficient line of products," said Ed Randall, President and CEO of Warner Power in Warner, New Hampshire. "One of the fastest ways to move toward energy independence is to simply use less power, and I'm glad Senator Shaheen is working on thoughtful measures that will both speed that process and drive up demand for energy efficient products like ours."

Shaheen's work to help manufacturers and industry increase energy efficiency could create jobs, help American industry remain competitive, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. America's industrial sector accounts for nearly one-third of all the energy consumed in the nation, more than any other sector. A recent study found that 40% of the total U.S. opportunity for energy demand reduction is within the industrial sector. Shaheen has long been a leader in encouraging energy efficiency in buildings. As Governor, her administration initiated energy efficiency programs for residential, commercial and industrial users that are saving New Hampshire families and businesses over $800 million and have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons.

Boost New Hampshire's Growing Biomass Industry. Shaheen also authored, improved and successfully passed through the committee several amendments that will boost New Hampshire's biomass industry, increase biomass efficiency and help create jobs. One of Shaheen's amendments seeks to incentivize highly efficient biomass plants that reuse heat generated from biomass energy production to heat and cool buildings. For example, Clean Power Development, LLC in Concord is proposing a number of highly efficient biomass heat and power systems that would benefit from Shaheen's amendment by receiving additional energy credits under the RES to sell to other energy producers.

"Biomass is an important resource in New Hampshire, and I'm proud this bill makes sure it's utilized in the best, most efficient way possible," added Shaheen. "Using biomass to create energy is a major win - it will create jobs, reduce costs for energy efficient businesses, and help end our reliance on foreign oil."

"At Clean Power Development, we're working on new biomass projects that will create jobs and help move us toward energy independence, and Senator Shaheen's legislation will provide a real boost to projects like ours," said Bill Gabler, Project Manager at Clean Power Development. "By incentivizing highly efficient projects like the ones we're proposing, Senator Shaheen's legislation makes sure we don't waste our limited biomass resources, and it will give real financial rewards to highly efficient biomass energy producers."

The ACELA now heads to the Senate floor where Shaheen will continue working with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve the bill for New Hampshire.