Shaheen Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Provide Certainty Around Federal Investments in Weatherization and State Energy Programs
(Washington, DC) — Last week, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jack Reed (D-RI) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to improve delivery of weatherization assistance and encourage state-driven energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives that reduce energy costs for low-income households, spur private sector energy innovation and improve emergency planning and response. The Investing in State Energy Act would prevent undue delays in distributing grants through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the State Energy Program (SEP) to state agencies and local partners that implement energy initiatives.
“This bipartisan legislation will ensure New Hampshire is able to best plan for federal investments in weatherization assistance and local clean energy projects, which help to lower energy costs for Granite State businesses, families and school districts,” said Shaheen. “Clean energy initiatives in our state benefit not only our environment, but our working families and our economy. This bill will provide New Hampshire with the resources it needs to effectively leverage federal dollars to support communities in the Granite State."
For more than 40 years, these assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have provided technical and financial assistance to states, tribal governments and U.S. territories to encourage the adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency practices and technologies.
The Weatherization Assistance Program enables families, older adults, veterans and individuals with disabilities to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, freeing up limited resources for other essentials like food and medicine. The State Energy Program provides cost-shared resources directly to the states for allocations by the governor-designated State Energy Office to support energy projects, such as energy emergency planning and response, private sector innovation in clean energy and state-driven energy infrastructure modernization.
Congress provided the highest level of funding for these programs in more than a decade through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and regular Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations, including a total of more than $20 million for New Hampshire in Weatherization funding and more than $4 million for New Hampshire’s State Energy Program. Shaheen was a lead negotiator on the bipartisan infrastructure law and serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Energy.
The Investing in State Energy Act would direct the DOE to provide application guidance and publish expected WAP and SEP allocations to states within 60 days of enactment of appropriations for the programs and distribute funding to states and other recipients as quickly as practicable. By requiring the publication of expected WAP and SEP awards, the Investing in State Energy Act will ensure states, tribes, and other entities have the information they need in order to effectively plan for expected funding. The ability to conduct such planning encourages local high-impact projects that serve families in need and allows states to continue to make good use of critical resources to meet their energy goals. Senators Shaheen, Collins, Coons and Reed previously introduced a version of this legislation in 2019.
The text of the Investing in State Energy Act can be read here.