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Hearing Of The Subcommittee On Communications, Technology, And The Internet Of The Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, And Transportation - Improving Energy Efficiency Through Technology And Communications Innovation


Location: Washington, DC

We are holding this hearing to look at how innovative American businesses are becoming in combining energy savings and economic growth. There has never been a more important time to do this because energy independence is critical to our nation's future.

The companies represented here today are companies with vision. They are making so-called "smart devices" to increase people's productivity. They are making the chips that allow machines to communicate with each other. They are startups thinking big about how to help homeowners manage and consume energy to save money.

We also will hear from Aneesh Chopra, the nation's CTO, who will tell us what government is doing to help innovators bring new technologies to the market. In the interest of time and to facilitate a more informed discussion, I have consolidated the witness panels today. I appreciate Mr. Chopra's indulgence.

This hearing will also examine innovations stemming from a hearing the FCC held a few months ago at MIT on the relationship between broadband and smart grid technologies.

Those who follow the communications and technology policy are aware that the FCC is scheduled to release its National Broadband Plan next month. I have been calling for a universal, affordable, and accessible broadband infrastructure since 2004. And I very much look forward to evaluating the roadmap that the FCC will produce toward that end. Early indications are that the FCC will set bold goals for itself, industry, and Congress and I encourage it do so.

Experts estimate that the information and communications technology industry is responsible for as much as 2.5 percent of the national carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. And that percentage is estimated to grow as the ICT industry grows.

But the services the industry provides and the way such firms in manage their own energy use can help the other 98% of the economy dramatically reduce its carbon emissions. Modernizing our infrastructure, setting broad operating standards and establishing market incentives are the keys to success.

We have with us an excellent panel of witnesses to help us identify what we need to do to get there.

I particularly want to thank Aneesh Chopra and Dan Hesse for their participation today.

Mr. Chopra is the Assistant to the President and Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. He was named to Government Technology magazine's Top 25 in their Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers issue in 2008. And Doers are exactly what we need right now. I look forward to hearing from him on how smart grid standards can help accelerate adoption of technologies that will allow us to maximize our efficient use of energy. He also will bring us up to date on what he's doing to promote the commercialization of innovative technologies that are close to market ready.

Dan Hesse is the CEO of Sprint. It is rare that we have the CEO of a major corporation testify at a Subcommittee hearing, and I think his willingness to participate speaks volumes about him and his company's commitment to this issue and to our planet. The measurable goals for carbon reduction this CEO is setting for his firm is exactly the kind of leadership we need. And he is proving that being environmentally sound makes good business sense as well.

In addition to those witnesses, we have Adrian Tuck, the CEO of a cutting edge tech startup with us called Tendril, Kathrin Winkler the CSO of EMC, a global information management business leader headquartered in Massachusetts, and Lorie Wiggle, the Director of Intel's Eco Technology Program Office.

Thank you all for coming and I look forward to us working together to help this country meet the climate challenge with innovative solutions.

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