I had the pleasure of testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power last week. The topic was proposed legislation to grant “grid-enabled water heaters” a carefully designed exemption from the strong and important federal energy efficiency standards for water heaters that take effect next month. Grid-enabled water heaters are large electric resistance water heaters with communication and control capability that allow them to be used in an electricity system’s energy storage or demand response program.
NRDC is a longstanding and strong supporter of federal energy efficiency standards, and we continue to support the latest energy efficiency standards for water heaters, which will save energy and lower consumers’ bills. We have only rarely supported exemptions from standards. But here we explored the opportunities that grid-enable water heaters may offer for environmental and consumer benefit, found the case persuasive, and worked intensively with manufacturers, utilities, and other efficiency and environmental organizations to develop legislation that would deliver on the opportunity while not undermining the benefits of strong efficiency standards.