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Mar 15 -- The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended (“EPCA”), prescribes energy conservation standards for various consumer products and certain commercial and industrial equipment, including battery chargers. EPCA also requires the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE” or “Department”) to periodically determine whether more-stringent, standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in significant energy savings. In this notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”), DOE [Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy] proposes amended energy conservation standards for battery chargers, and also announces a public meeting to receive comment on these proposed standards and associated analyses and results.

DOE will hold a public meeting via webinar on Thursday, April 27, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. See section VII, “Public Participation,” for webinar registration information, participant instructions, and information about the capabilities available to webinar participants.

DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this NOPR no later than May 15, 2023. Comments regarding the likely competitive impact of the proposed standard should be sent to the Department of Justice on or before April 14, 2023.

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, Public Law 94-163, as amended (“EPCA”), authorizes DOE to regulate the energy efficiency of a number of consumer products and certain industrial equipment. (42 U.S.C. 6291-6317) Title III, Part B of EPCA established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles. (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309) These products include battery chargers, the subject of this rulemaking.

Pursuant to EPCA, any new or amended energy conservation standard must be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that DOE determines is technologically feasible and economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) Furthermore, the new or amended standard must result in a significant conservation of energy. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B)) EPCA also provides that not later than 6 years after issuance of any final rule establishing or amending a standard, DOE must publish either a notice of determination that standards for the product do not need to be amended, or a notice of proposed rulemaking including new proposed energy conservation standards (proceeding to a final rule, as appropriate). (42 U.S.C. 6295(m))

In accordance with these and other statutory provisions discussed in this document, DOE proposes new multi-metric energy conservation standards for battery chargers. The proposed standards, which are expressed in max active charge energy and max standby and off modes power values, are shown in Table I.1. These proposed standards, if adopted, would apply to all battery chargers listed in Table I.1 manufactured in, or imported into, the United States starting on the date 2 years after the publication of the final rule for this rulemaking. . . .

DOE has tentatively concluded that the proposed standards represent the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in the significant conservation of energy. Specifically, with regards to technological feasibility products achieving these standard levels are already commercially available for all product classes covered by this proposal. As for economic justification, DOE's analysis shows that the benefits of the proposed standard exceed, to a great extent, the burdens of the proposed standards.

Using a 7-percent discount rate for consumer benefits and costs and NOX and SO2 reduction benefits, and a 3-percent discount rate case for GHG social costs, the estimated cost of the proposed standards for battery chargers is $89 million per year in increased battery charger costs, while the estimated annual benefits are $457 million in reduced battery charger operating costs, $120 million in climate benefits and $178 million in health benefits. The net benefit amounts to $665 million per year.

The significance of energy savings is evaluated by DOE on a case-by-case basis considering the specific circumstances surrounding a specific rulemaking. The standards are projected to result in estimated national energy savings of 1.2 quad FFC. DOE has initially determined the energy savings that would result from the proposed standard levels are “significant” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)(B). A more detailed discussion of the basis for these tentative conclusions is contained in the remainder of this document and the accompanying TSD.

DOE also considered more-stringent energy efficiency levels as potential standards, and is still considering them in this rulemaking. However, DOE has tentatively concluded that the potential burdens of the more-stringent energy efficiency levels would outweigh the projected benefits.

Based on consideration of the public comments DOE receives in response to this document and related information collected and analyzed during the course of this rulemaking effort, DOE may adopt energy efficiency levels presented in this document that are either higher or lower than the proposed standards, or some combination of level(s) that incorporate the proposed standards in part.

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-04765 [57 pages]

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