June 06, 2019

Wyden Reintroduces Legislation to Bolster Renewable Energy Development, Protect Power Grid from Natural Disasters

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has reintroduced three 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. All three bills also include a provision that protects the privacy of Americans’ electric usage information from warrantless government surveillance.

“Climate change is not some distant threat in the future. It’s real, it’s here and we cannot afford inaction,” Wyden said. “To mitigate its impacts, we need to be all in when it comes to clean, renewable energy. That means making the investments needed to spur innovation to make renewables more available and affordable, while also improving the resiliency of the grid.”

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. Bill text can be found 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. Bill text can be found 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. The Reducing the Cost of Energy Storage Act is also co-sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Chris Coons, D-Del. Bill text can be found here.