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John H.
Republican ND

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  • Unanimous Consent Request—H.R. 2126

    by Senator John Hoeven

    Posted on 2014-12-15

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    HOEVEN. Mr. President, I would like to thank the Senator from Alaska for her leadership of our energy committee on this and many other important energy issues. I want to follow along with much of what she just covered and why it is important.

    In this legislation, which is sponsored by Senator Portman and Senator Shaheen, there are a number of energy efficiency measures. But the one she emphasized and the one which I want to emphasize is the water heater efficiency provision. This is a commonsense provision. It is very important for people in rural areas across the country.

    The rural electric cooperatives have been very strong on working to get this legislation passed. They have gotten it passed in the House on behalf of all of those people out there in rural America where this can make a real difference in terms of quality of life, but at the same time save energy and save money. So it is one of those measures where everyone wins all the way around.

    We have sponsored this in a number of different forms. We have not been able to move it through the Senate yet. We will, I am convinced, move it through next year. But as the good Senator from Alaska said, there are some timelines here that make it very important that we get the measure passed.

    Essentially what we are dealing with is in 2010, the Department of Energy issued a rule on water heaters that will effectively ban the manufacture of large electric water heaters beginning in 2015--so next year--which could greatly affect consumers in rural areas and hurt the effectiveness of some of our demand-response rural programs.

    Many of our rural areas are not serviced by natural gas, and geothermal water heaters can cost many thousands of dollars. So this is a practical win-win amendment that improves the efficiency of electric water heaters but still lets our rural areas have access to affordable, efficient water heaters that can supplement renewable energy.

    Electric cooperatives and other utilities have voluntary demand- response programs that use electric water heaters to more effectively manage power supply and demand. In those areas where renewables are part of the electric generation system, those water heaters facilitate the integration of renewable energy that can be stored for use during peak hours, like wind and solar energy.

    So this provision would allow the continued manufacture of large grid-enabled electric resistance water heaters only for use in electric thermal storage or demand-response programs, meaning you are using offpeak load. So you are using lower cost energy, energy that otherwise would be lost. So, again, it really is a win for everybody involved.

    This provision would require grid-enabled water heaters to have a volume of more than 75 gallons, be energy efficient, and work on grids that have a demand-response program. It is that simple. It is that straightforward. It is that commonsense.

    But it affects a tremendous number of people across rural America, people in States such as Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio, across the country. I am convinced we are going to get this. The issue is when. We are facing this timeline, as I say, in 2015.

    I will conclude with some of the organizations that support this legislation. I do not know of anyone opposing it. We have got a tremendous number of organizations that support it, including the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, the General Electric Company, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the National Resource Defense Council, the Northwest Energy Alliance.

    The bill saves money, it saves energy, it benefits the environment, it benefits consumers. Look, we need to get it passed. This bill on the floor easily gets more than enough to pass on a bipartisan basis with flying colors.

    I would certainly yield the floor to our leader on this important issue, the good Senator from Ohio.

    The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Ohio.

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