Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) introduced the Smart Grid Advancement Act of 2013. Congressman McNerney is the only renewable energy expert in Congress and sits on the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce. A recent Department of Energy report emphasized that investment in Smart Grid projects has resulted in almost $7 billion in total economic output, benefitting a wide variety of industrial sectors and creating 47,000 jobs.
"In order to better utilize our energy resources, we must become more efficient and transition to lower carbon energy systems. Making necessary investments in the nation's Smart Grid is one way to facilitate this transition," said Rep. McNerney. "If we take action now, Smart Grid will create family-wage jobs, produce real economic benefits, increase energy efficiency, and allow for renewable energy technologies to be more easily integrated into our system. "
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 electrical use during times of peak consumption, such as in the afternoon.
"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," said Rep. McNerney.
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 energy efficiency. The Smart Grid Advancement Act will better integrate smart grid features into the Energy Star Program.
On May 8th of this year, Congressman McNerney spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about the importance of investing in Smart Grid technologies. Video of the floor speech is available here. Full text of the speech is available here.
"There is much to do in terms of policy initiatives that deliver greater benefits from smart grid, demand response and energy efficiency", said Dan Delurey, Executive Director of the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG). "DRSG is pleased to see Congressman McNerney moving to do just that via the bill he is introducing today. His focus on reducing peak demand is particularly important, as a significant amount of the nation's electricity costs come from only a few days per year when electricity demand can skyrocket and reliability can be threatened due to temperature or other factors. All consumers pay that extra cost one way or the other, so reducing peak demand is therefore an important strategy that this bill will get people focused on."
The Smart Grid Advancement Act is cosponsored by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.).