Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) today reintroduced two clean energy initiatives, H.R. 2207, the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act and H.R. 2208, the Smart Grid Advancement Act of 2011. McNerney is a former clean energy engineer with over two decades of experience in wind energy, smart grid, and other energy technologies.
"I've seen firsthand the potential for creating jobs in the clean energy field," said Rep. McNerney. "At a time when our country's economy is struggling, it's more important than ever that we take steps to create these new clean energy jobs and provide training for American workers to compete in this field."
The GREEN Act will help create a workforce ready for a green economy. The bill allocates competitive grant funding for clean energy career and technical training programs. Post-secondary institutions, local education agencies, career and technical schools, and community partners will use the grants to enter into partnerships to develop these training programs. The bill also provides funding for clean energy improvements to educational facilities. The GREEN Act provides up to $100 million for these purposes.
"This bill lays the foundation for clean energy jobs," said Rep. McNerney. "By providing grants to develop job training programs, we'll help ensure that our country's workers are building clean energy projects right here in America."
The Smart Grid Advancement Act will move forward the development of a more efficient electrical grid. The bill tasks states and utility entities with establishing goals for reducing electrical use during peak times through the use of smart grid technologies. Smart grid refers to systems or technologies that help reduce use during times of peak consumption, such as in the afternoon.
"Making our electrical grid more efficient is a critical step towards a more sustainable energy plan for our nation," said Rep. McNerney. "Increasing the use of smart grid technologies will help reduce use when demand for power is at its highest. That, in turn, will help save consumers money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That's a win-win situation."
The Smart Grid Advancement Act will also improve the Energy Star Program -- an initiative that gives consumers the tools to purchase energy efficient and cost-saving appliances. Currently, the program labels commonly used appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators with information about their efficiency. H.R. 2208 will better integrate smart grid features into the Energy Star Program.