WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today joined a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues to introduce major energy efficiency legislation that should save the nation 50 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year, conserve enough natural gas to heat a quarter million homes a year, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Efficiency Promotion Act of 2007 provides federal aid to pioneer advanced lighting technologies, expedites new efficiency standards for household appliances, provides grants to automakers to retool facilities to produce advanced technology “plug-in” hybrid vehicles, and funds research on advanced battery technology. The latter provision is similar to one Murkowski proposed earlier this year in the REFRESH Act, (S. 298) which provides $100 million for battery research. “Increasing energy efficiency is an important aspect of a balanced approach to improving the nation’s energy future,” said Senator Murkowski. “These efficiency measures go hand-in-hand with increasing energy from renewable and alternative sources as well as traditional fuels. We must do everything we can to cut our dependence on foreign energy sources.” The bill also requires the federal government to purchase vehicles that will be 30 percent more efficient by 2016, requires the government to buy enough renewable energy so 15 percent of federal facilities are powered by renewable energy by 2015, requires the government to make federal buildings use 30 percent less energy by 2015, and reauthorizes the weatherization and state energy grant programs among a host of other provisions. Murkowski authored a provision that would provide grants and tax assistance to companies that build energy efficiency appliances and mechanical systems for buildings in cold climates, and makes such appliances eligible for “Energy Star” tax deductions when purchased by home and building owners. That provision is intended to spur development of more energy efficient combination heat and power units, one of the leading ways that cold-climate structures can save energy, according to Alaska energy officials. “The Alaska-provision is intended to provide incentives to encourage the development of appliances and furnaces that run on both renewable energy and fossil fuels. The hybrid devices offer real promise at reducing fuel costs in Alaska homes and buildings,” said Murkowski. Murkowski joined with Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Pete Domenici, R-N.M., Bryon Dorgan, D-N.D., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in sponsoring the bipartisan bill that likely will become part of a new Senate energy package of bills in coming weeks. The bill when fully implemented, besides saving 50 billion kilowatt hours a year also will save the nation 560 million gallons of water a day – about 1.3 percent of daily potable water usage. ###