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Welch efficiency program included in Senate energy bill

June 8, 2009
Press Release

New report shows the national energy efficiency program would save four times Vermont's annual energy consumption

A national energy efficiency program authored by Rep. Peter Welch has been included in the Senate version of comprehensive energy legislation.

Welch's Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program was added last week to S. 949, the 21st Century Energy Technology and Deployment Act, during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee mark-up.

The Welch initiative provides financial incentives to retrofit the nation's existing homes and businesses in order to make them more energy efficient. The program would create thousands of middle class jobs, help homeowners and business owners save money on energy bills and combat climate change. American buildings are responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions.

"The opportunities presented by investing in energy efficiency are extraordinary," Welch said. "By following Vermont's lead in recognizing the potential of energy efficiency, the rest of the country can do its part to fight climate change, while creating jobs and reducing energy costs."

After Welch unveiled the REEP legislation in Burlington this March, the program was incorporated into the House energy and climate change bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454). That bill was approved with funding in May by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which Welch serves, and is expected to reach the House floor later this summer.

According to a new analysis by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the energy efficiency provisions in H.R. 2454 could reduce the nation's annual energy use four percent by 2020. The 4.4 quadrillion BTU annual energy savings exceed the State of New York's entire annual energy use.

The ACEEE analysis shows that Welch's REEP program alone would save 552 trillion BTUs by 2020 - the equivalent of four times Vermont's annual energy use.