September 27, 2017

Wyden Announces Legislation to Spark Renewable Energy Development, Protect Power Grid from Natural Disasters

Three New Pieces of Legislation would Encourage Use of Updated Grid Technologies like Energy Storage

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today announced three new pieces of legislation that would make renewable energy more reliable and affordable for consumers by providing federal funding to states to update the power grid and encouraging research and development of new technologies.

“America’s energy grid is in need of an upgrade. These bills will promote a more flexible electricity grid that can respond to power disruptions from natural disasters and ensure reliable, low-cost electricity for consumers now and in the future,” Wyden said. “They will lower costs for energy storage technologies that make renewable energy more reliable and cost-effective, boost funding for cutting-edge research and reward state and private sector innovations.”

The Flexible Grid Infrastructure Act would require the Department of Energy to find ways to make the grid more flexible to protect the power supply from disruptions caused by natural disasters, which can wipe out power to millions of homes. The bill would also connect displaced workers to training programs that will allow them to transition to high-skill clean energy jobs. It would also provide states and utilities with resources to upgrade the flexibility and reliability of the grid. Find bill text here.

The Distributed Energy Demonstration Act would create competitive, cost-share grant programs for new small-scale, grid-connected projects such as rooftop solar panels, hot water heaters, electric vehicles and modernized utility pricing technologies. Find bill text here.

The Reducing the Cost of Energy Storage Act would provide funding to the Department of Energy to research and develop ways to lower the cost of energy storage technologies, which make it possible for renewable energy to be used on a more reliable and affordable basis. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., also cosponsored the bill. Find bill text here.

All three bills are supported by: Portland General Electric (PGE), Panasonic Corporation of North America, Intel, GridWise Alliance, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, National Association of State Energy Officials, SmartGrid Northwest, Advanced Energy Economy, Forth (formerly Drive Oregon), Electric Drive Transportation Association, American Council On Renewable Energy, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Information Technology Industry Council and the Advanced Energy Management Alliance.

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