While the passage of a raft of GOP-backed energy bills this month appeared to widen the divide between House Democrats and Republicans, a pair of lawmakers has forged a genuinely bipartisan plan to increase energy efficiency in the federal government.
Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., introduced a bill Thursday to allow federal agencies to expand the use of utility energy service contracts, which are agreements with utilities specifying "the amount of energy savings it will achieve through retrofits and other measures," according to a news release about the bill. "The utility is then paid for its performance out of the savings it achieves."
The legislation would allow agencies to enter into these performance contracts for up to 25 years, according to Welch and Gardner.
"The bill would allow private contractors to increase energy efficiency in federal agencies," Gardner told National Journal Daily. "The longer contract leads to greater energy savings, and it's a way to maximize the savings to the taxpayer."
This isn't the first time Welch and Gardner have collaborated on an energy-efficiency measure. The pair unveiled a similar plan to promote energy savings in federal buildings last July, and Welch is a cosponsor of a bill put forward with Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., that would serve as a companion to a Senate energy-efficiency bill introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.