Committee Approves Cantwell Bills to Modernize, Protect Nation’s Energy Grid
Measures will also boost clean energy workforce training
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed four bills introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) on grid modernization, smart buildings, cybersecurity, and workforce development. Collectively, this legislation will help accelerate our nation’s transition to a cleaner and more diverse energy system.
“We can either be a lagger in energy efficiency or we can be a leader in it and be competitive,” Senator Cantwell said. “I’m glad that we’re going to try to be competitive. The fact that these bills were voted mostly by voice vote is a testament to the bipartisan consensus about the need to make investments in clean energy in areas like energy storage and energy efficiency.”
Details on Cantwell’s four bills are available below:
- This bill, cosponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), would authorize new Department of Energy (DOE) demonstration programs to modernize the grid with storage, microgrids, and distribution-level investments in technology like electric vehicle chargers and advanced distributed generation. In addition, the bill requires DOE to provide a series of "off-the-shelf" tools to local and state grid regulators to accelerate the adoption of new technology and grid controls. These tools would reflect the diversity of various states and include architectural analysis of the grid, performance metrics for new technology, and distribution network planning.
- This bill, cosponsored by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), accelerates the transition to smart buildings by supporting research and by documenting the costs and benefits of emerging technologies in private-sector and federal government buildings. Specifically, it requires a survey of privately-owned smart buildings, directs smart building retrofits in certain federal buildings to quantify costs and benefits, and directs research and development toward reducing the barriers to the adoption of smart building technology.
- This bill, cosponsored by Senator Heinrich, creates several programs within DOE to identify, enhance, and test supply chain vulnerabilities and response capabilities between the DOE and other agencies, national labs, and private industry. The bill looks to secure energy networks, bolster industry participation in information sharing, address the cyber workforce, enhance monitoring tools, and expand DOE’s cooperation with the intelligence community.
- This bill, cosponsored by Senator Hirono, establishes a 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board, a nationwide advisory board at the DOE for the development of a skilled energy workforce in both traditional and clean energy sectors. The legislation also establishes a competitive workforce grant program to build partnerships with state and local government, industry, and community colleges to provide job training through a community college or registered apprenticeship program to provide students with industry-recognized credentials.
Senator Cantwell is a longtime supporter of a modern, clean, and more diverse energy system. Just this week, she introduced a bipartisan resolution establishing the week of September 22-27, 2019 as National Clean Energy Week. Earlier this year, Cantwell took to the Senate floor to call for action on climate change and investments in the clean energy economy.
Next Article Previous Article