Bipartisan Efforts in 2005 U.S. Energy Bill Led to Significant Energy Efficiency Gains

19 March 2011

Analysis of 2005 Energy Policy Act Shows Markets Transformed and Doors Opened to Further Legislation

Energy efficiency provisions in the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 were largely successful in expanding markets for money-saving energy-efficient products, and in creating opportunities for continued bipartisan political action on energy efficiency in later legislation. These are the results of a new report, Assessing the Harvest: Implementation of the Energy Efficiency Provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report documents current knowledge about the implementation of the energy efficiency provisions in this legislation.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush in August of that year, included manufacturer and consumer tax incentives for energy-saving technologies, minimum efficiency standards for appliances and equipment, and a variety of other provisions to encourage energy savings. It was the first major energy legislation since 1992, and began a period of bold energy efficiency legislation from 2005 to 2010.

"This bill dates to the last time Republicans had control of both sides of Congress and the White House," said Steven Nadel, co-author of the report and Executive Director of ACEEE. "There is a clear precedent for bipartisan action on energy efficiency, because these are win-win policies."

The report also looks at lessons learned from implementation of the 2005 bill. The most successful energy efficiency provisions had good timing, stakeholder engagement and education, and appropriate levels of funding. Other provisions, especially those with limited or nonexistent funding or where a loophole was built into the law did not fare as well.

"Most of the provisions have proved successful in helping save consumers and businesses energy, but there are some clear winners," said Rachel Gold, lead report author and a researcher at ACEEE. "The new homes and appliance manufacturer tax incentives, and the appliance and equipment standards have succeeded the best at transforming markets."

Overall, ACEEE estimates that in 2020, the bill will still be saving enough energy to power the state of Tennessee for a year at current energy use levels. These findings are close to ACEEE's original estimate in 2005, showing that for the most part, implementation of the provisions over the past five years has gone well.


Steven Nadel, ACEEE, 202.507.4011
Rachel Gold, ACEEE, 202.507.4018
Media Contact: Glee Murray, 202.507.4010

This article is taken from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).