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S. 1621 (111th): Thermal Energy Efficiency Act of 2009

The text of the bill below is as of Aug 6, 2009 (Introduced).


II

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1621

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

August 6, 2009

(for himself and Mr. Merkley) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

A BILL

To improve thermal energy efficiency and use, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Thermal Energy Efficiency Act of 2009.

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

approximately 40 percent of the total quantity of energy consumed in the United States is used in heating and air conditioning buildings and industrial process heat;

(2)

thermal energy is an essential, but often overlooked, segment of the national energy mix;

(3)

district energy systems use 1 or more central plants to provide thermal energy or combined heat and power to multiple buildings that range in size from campus applications to systems heating entire towns or cities;

(4)

district energy systems provide several advantages that support secure, affordable, renewable, and sustainable energy for the United States, including—

(A)

fuel flexibility to reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions;

(B)

use of local fuels that keep jobs and energy dollars in local economies;

(C)

stable, predictable energy costs for businesses and industry; and

(D)

reduction in reliance on fossil fuels;

(5)

district energy systems provide infrastructure to produce and distribute thermal energy and use electric energy from sources of industrial surplus heat and from renewable sources, such as biomass, geothermal, and solar;

(6)

as of 2009, the United States had approximately 2,500 operating district energy systems;

(7)

combined heat and power systems increase energy efficiency of power plants by capturing thermal energy and using the thermal energy to provide heating and cooling, more than doubling the efficiency of conventional power plants; and

(8)

according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, if the United States was able to increase combined heat and power from approximately 9 percent of total electric generation capacity on the date of enactment of this Act to 20 percent by 2030, the increase would—

(A)

save as much energy as half of all household energy consumption;

(B)

create approximately 1,000,000 new jobs;

(C)

avoid more than 800,000,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to taking 1/2 of all United States passenger vehicles off the road; and

(D)

save hundreds of millions of barrels of oil equivalent.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Administrator

The term Administrator means the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

(2)

Combined heat and power

The term combined heat and power means simultaneous generation of electric energy and heat in a single, integrated system, with an overall efficiency of 60 percent or higher based on a higher-heating value basis.

(3)

District energy system

The term district energy system means a system that provides thermal energy from 1 or more central plants to at least 2 or more buildings through a network of pipes to provide steam, hot water, or chilled water to be used for space heating, air conditioning, domestic hot water, compression, process energy, or other end uses for the thermal energy.

(4)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means—

(A)

an institutional entity;

(B)

a commercial or industrial entity; or

(C)

a Federal agency or facility.

(5)

Fund

The term Fund means the Thermal Energy Efficiency Fund established by section 4(a).

(6)

Institutional entity

The term institutional entity means—

(A)

an institution of higher education;

(B)

a public school district;

(C)

a local government;

(D)

a State government;

(E)

a tribal government;

(F)

a municipal utility; or

(G)

a nonprofit or public hospital; or

(H)

a designee of 1 of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (G).

(7)

Qualifying project

The term qualifying project means a district energy, combined heat and power, or recoverable waste energy project that (in accordance with guidance issued by the Secretary)—

(A)

reduces or avoids greenhouse gas emissions; and

(B)
(i)

produces thermal energy from renewable energy resources (such as biomass, geothermal, and solar resources) and natural cooling sources (such as cold lake or ocean water sources);

(ii)

captures and productively uses thermal energy from an existing electric generation facility;

(iii)

provides for the capture and productive use of thermal energy in a new electric generation facility;

(iv)

integrates new electricity generation into an existing district energy system;

(v)

captures and productively uses surplus thermal energy from an industrial or municipal process (such as wastewater treatment); or

(vi)

distributes and transfers to buildings the thermal energy from the energy sources described in clauses (i) through (v).

(8)

Recoverable waste energy

The term recoverable waste energy means electrical, thermal, or mechanical energy that—

(A)

may be recovered or generated through modification of an existing facility or addition of a new facility; and

(B)

if not for that recovery, would be wasted.

(9)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.

4.

Thermal Energy Efficiency Fund

(a)

Establishment

There is established in the Treasury a fund to be known as the Thermal Energy Efficiency Fund.

(b)

Allocation

If a program for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is established by Federal law (including regulations) for any of calendar years 2012 through 2050 and emission allowances are allocated under the program, the Administrator shall allocate to the Fund 2 percent of the quantity of emission allowances established for the calendar year.

(c)

Auctioning

The Administrator shall auction all of the emission allowances allocated to the Fund for a calendar year under subsection (b).

(d)

Deposits

The Administrator shall deposit all proceeds of auctions conducted pursuant to subsection (c), immediately on receipt of those proceeds, in the Fund.

5.

Grants for qualifying projects

(a)

In general

For each calendar year during which a program described in section 4(b) is in effect, the Secretary shall use amounts in the Fund, without further appropriation, to make competitive grants to eligible entities to carry out qualifying projects in accordance with this section, as determined by the Secretary.

(b)

Use allocation

Of the amount of grants that are made available for each of calendar years 2012 through 2050 under this section, the Secretary shall use—

(1)

at least 75 percent of the amount to make grants to support infrastructure construction and development for qualifying projects;

(2)

at least 15 percent of the amount to make grants to support planning, engineering, and feasibility studies for qualifying projects; and

(3)

the remainder to make grants described in paragraph (1) or (2), as determined by the Secretary.

(c)

Recipient allocation

Of the amount of grants that are made available for each of calendar years 2012 through 2050 under this section, the Secretary shall use—

(1)

at least 40 percent of the amount to make grants to institutional entities to carry out qualifying projects;

(2)

at least 40 percent of the amount to make grants to industrial and commercial entities to carry out qualifying projects; and

(3)

the remainder to make grants described in paragraph (1) or (2) or to fund qualifying projects carried out by Federal agencies or facilities, as determined by the Secretary.

(d)

Matching requirements

To be eligible to obtain a grant, a recipient (other than a Federal agency or facility) shall provide matching funds in an amount equal to at least—

(1)

in the case of each of calendar years 2012 through 2017, 25 percent of the amount of the grant; and

(2)

in the case of each of calendar years 2018 through 2050, 50 percent of the amount of the grant.

6.

Combined heat and power

It is the goal of the United States that by calendar year 2030, 20 percent or more of the total electrical power capacity of the United States be met through combined heat and power.