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Energy Bill on Senate Floor

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Energy Bill on Senate Floor

On Jan. 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brought S. 2012, the broad-ranging energy policy bill reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer, to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.

The bill, also known as the "Energy Policy Modernization Act," includes numerous provisions organized under four main titles: infrastructure, supply, workforce development, and accountability. It includes measures to hasten natural gas exports, modernize the grid, and streamline hydropower permitting, among other things.

S. 2012 would require ISO-New England to demonstrate how its forward capacity market provides "enhanced opportunities for self-supply," but does not require any changes to market rules to allow self supply, as sought by NEPPA, APPA and NRECA.

While a process for amendments and floor time has not been confirmed, the Senate could take up to three weeks on the bill, under an open amendment process whereby any Senator could offer any amendment to the bill. However, this process could easily load the bipartisan bill with "poison pills" and cause it to fail or be vetoed.

Senators have been invited to submit amendments, but it is not yet clear what might be offered. NEPPA, APPA, and others are still pushing for a Senator, possibly Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), to offer the capacity resource choice language developed in advance of the bill’s consideration by the Energy Committee.

Amendments that failed in Committee could also be offered again, such as one by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to create a federal efficiency resource standard for retail suppliers of electricity and natural gas and/or another by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) to require utility commissions and locally regulated utilities to consider the benefits of distributed generation, which the electric sector opposed in Committee.

The electric sector is also concerned that an amendment on electro-magnetic pulse events may be offered that would undermine the current standards development process. There are also likely to be highly partisan amendments to roll back Administration rulemakings and to advance measures to combat climate change.

Morgan Meguire will continue to report as amendments are filed and become public.


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