Advocacy groups are pushing to include the State Energy Race to the Top Initiative Act of 2013 legislation as an amendment to the Shaheen–Portman efficiency bill. But the “race to the top” idea amounts to nothing more than a subsidy-filled race to the trough for companies that are hungry to gobble up taxpayer dollars.

Proposed by President Obama in his State of the Union speech and more recently in legislation introduced by Senators Mark Warner (D–VA) and Joe Manchin (D–WV), the race to the top is a $200 million grant program to promote energy efficiency that adds even more taxpayer money to existing federal and state efficiency subsidies and mandates.

States and qualifying entities would submit proposals to the Department of Energy (DOE) for efficiency upgrades such as building retrofits for public and private commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, and residential buildings as well as industrial efficiency, demand-side management, and more. The DOE would provide a first phase of funding to no more than 25 states and a second round of much larger grants to no more than six states based on the project proposal, geography, and likelihood of success.

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