The American Energy Security and Independence Act (S. 3714) is a novel approach to alleviating ongoing energy security concerns in the United States. Introduced in both the House and Senate, both bills have virtually identical language, with a focus on empowering the President to use the Defense Production Act, legislation first enacted during the Korean war, to enhance domestic manufacturing and “cover…energy-efficiency and renewable energy systems and technologies.” Additional loans and grants would be available in order to meet today’s demand for energy-efficient technologies.
The bill also directs the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to allocate fiscal year 2022-2023 funds on installing public heat pumps, which studies show lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The Energy Security and Independence Act directs its resources and funding toward public renewable energy systems that minimize U.S. utility and energy costs, and directs federal agencies to use their buildings as “public sources of solar energy for environmental justice communities.”
In addition to its provisions on the Defense Production Act, S. 3714 would create a “domestic renewable energy industrial base task force” made up of experts in manufacturing, engineering, and energy, as well as labor unions. This task force would plan and prioritize efficient usage of domestic investments and technologies.
In the Senate, the bill is sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and in the House by Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO). While this particular piece of legislation’s future is uncertain, it provides an excellent groundwork for innovative energy policy. Its framework surrounding the Defense Production Act – usually applied for national defense, FEMA, and recently enacted under President Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic – is an original idea for the energy policy sphere that could easily find its way to future bills, should this legislation fail to pass.
The IEEE-USA’s Energy Policy Committee’s “National Energy Policy Recommendations” position statement lists energy storage, efficient use of energy, and reducing carbon emissions as top priorities. Those interested in the position statement can read it here.
Kayla Henneberry is policy associate for IEEE-USA government relations.