WASHINGTON - July 30 - "After delays of up to 12 years, the Alliance to Save Energy is pleased that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has begun the formal process for issuing energy-efficiency standards for major residential and commercial appliances and equipment," said Alliance President Kateri Callahan about yesterday's Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR). "We urge DOE to follow through with prompt publication of proposed regulations that will take maximum advantage of energy-efficiency technologies, so that our nation can reap the multiple benefits for our economy, environment, and energy security. The Alliance stands ready to help DOE move forward.
"The wasted energy and money and the unnecessary environmental degradation during the years of delay cannot be recouped," Callahan noted, "and until the new rules go into effect in 2009 or 2010, inefficient equipment that can last for 20 to 30 years will be sold and installed in homes and businesses."
The ANOPR for residential furnaces and boilers, commercial air conditioners and heat pumps, and electric distribution transformers comes just a week after two U.S. senators -- Government Affairs Committee Chair Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) -- sent a letter to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham sharply criticizing the department's foot-dragging and quantifying the eventual energy savings from the new standards. After multiple postponements, today's ANOPR means DOE should soon publish proposed regulations setting minimum energy-efficiency standards for the three categories of equipment.
"The amount of electricity saved with these critical standards will be enough to meet the annual needs of about six million typical American households, and the natural gas savings will be enough to heat one out of every 10 U.S. households that uses natural gas heat," said Sen. Collins, also a vice-chair of the Alliance. "We cannot delay any longer."
"We agree with Sens. Collins and Lieberman that 'with the nation facing the prospect of sustained high energy costs, serious concerns about electricity reliability, ongoing public health problems linked to power sector air pollution, and a need for greater energy independence, improved energy efficiency makes more sense than ever,'" Callahan said.