ROSSLYN, Va., July 29, 2005The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) applauds Congress for its passage of comprehensive energy legislation by a bipartisan vote. NEMA members won a much sought after victory in the nation's capital with an energy policy bill that includes a significant number of provisions that benefit not only the industry, but also the consumer and the greater public in the form of better electrical infrastructure and more efficient, effective use of energy.
"The association has worked hard to achieve this milestone in national energy policy," says NEMA President Malcolm O'Hagan. "We congratulate the conferees who quickly put together a package resolving the differences in the Senate and House bills. Conference chairmen Joe Barton (R-TX) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) resolutely pursued completion of Congressional work on the measure. The result contrasts sharply with partisan political bickering that blocked passage of this much needed, overdue legislation in the past few sessions of Congress."
The bill contains provisions that promote energy efficiency and conservation, energy production and supply, improved energy transmission and distribution, energy tax incentives, and new technologies that promise greater efficiency and environmental protection.
NEMA gained inclusion of an energy efficient commercial buildings measure that provides a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for new or renovated buildings that exceed the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 standard by 50 percent, with deductions for lighting systems, HVAC systems, and building envelope. Individual systems, by themselves, may receive up to a $0.60 per square foot deduction. The effective date of this provision is December 31st, 2005.
NEMA is pleased with a reduction in the tax depreciation period for electric transmission assets from 20 to 15 years. This will spur enhanced investments in transmission and is one of the largest tax provisions in the bill. NEMA was a strong advocate of the tax depreciation provision, which O'Hagan says, "will make a big contribution toward a more modern, more reliable electrical transmission system."
Other NEMA-backed components of the legislation provide for the following:
o New federally regulated products, including medium screw-based compact fluorescent lamps, low voltage dry-type distribution transformers, pedestrian cross walks and traffic signals, exit signs, mercury vapor ballasts, and torchiere lighting fixtures. NEMA supports energy efficiency standards for these products.
o Increased goals for federal energy efficiency, including building requirements to meet the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 standards, and metering and sub-metering requirements for federal buildings.
o Statutory authority for the Energy Star® program to increase stakeholder standing in making Energy Star program and specification decisions.
o A requirement for federal government to purchase NEMA Premium® electric motors and Energy Star products.
o Mandatory and enforceable transmission reliability standards.
o A requirement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a rule providing incentive-based rates, which would encourage deployment of advanced transmission technologies, high-capacity conductor technologies, flexible AC transmission systems, and other products.
o Energy research and development provisions, including the Next Generation Lighting Initiative for solid state lighting, and advanced building programs that take advantage of lighting controls, daylighting technology, and occupancy sensors.
o For a more complete list, visit http://www.nema.org/gov/energy/
The House passed the bill by a vote of 275-156. The Senate passed it by a vote of 74-26.
NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its 400 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion.