Guam Tropical Energy Code Bill Moves Into Third Reading

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Code intended to promote efficiency, reduce electricity demand

By Louella Losinio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Jan. 28, 2014) – Lawmakers during session yesterday voted to move into the third reading file Bill 61 – a measure which provides legislative ratification of the 2012 Guam Tropical Energy Code.

The code sets a baseline for energy-efficiency that addresses the energy-efficiency requirements for the design, materials and equipment used in nearly all new constructions and renovations.

Sen. Tom Ada, the author of Bill 61, said the goal of the energy code is to reduce the demand for electrical energy. "By reducing this demand, then we can further reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels for energy production," he said.

Ada cited the Guam Renewable Energy Association’s assertion that the core foundation of energy independence should always start with energy-efficiency in any facility or building.

He said the code would be applied to commercial or residential buildings since these structures account for approximately 30 percent of overall energy consumption.

"The bulk of building energy use is for air-conditioning. Lighting and hot water are also major contributors to power consumption. Containing energy production growth also makes earlier the retirement of older, inefficient power generation equipment," he said.

An effective energy code is critical in achieving a reduction in energy demand, he added.

Fossil fuel

Right now, Ada said there is an active effort going on to reduce the production of electrical energy in fossil fuels through the promotion of renewable energy such as solar panels, windmills, and other alternative energy systems.

"That is addressing the issue on the supply side. What the energy code does is it addresses the issue of energy demand from the demand side of the equation," Ada said.

The Guam Power Authority, he added, is importing approximately $300 million worth of fossil fuel annually to meet its production demands. He pointed out that this is money that leaves the island and is not available for use within the economy.

He added that the reduction of dependence on imported fossil fuel is consistent with the mandates of Public Law 29-62 – an act which mandates the reduction of the annual net sales of electrical energy produced by burning fossil fuel.

Finally, Ada said having an approved energy code would enable the island to receive energy-related federal grants since most of these funding opportunities require that Guam has or soon will have an energy conservation code.

Ada said energy conservation codes are in use and adopted in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and most U.S. territories including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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