WASHINGTON D.C. – July 29, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — During consideration of a broad bipartisan energy bill in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) advocated for an amendment that would move America’s electricity system into the 21st century by promoting individual energy independence and bolstering national security. The amendment, which mirrors the Free Market Energy Act of 2015, which Senator King introduced earlier this year would also encourage innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies and help create jobs.
“The principal problem with our electrical system today is that it’s wildly inefficient in the sense that it is built for the hottest day and the highest demand, whereas we rarely achieve that. It’s like a church that’s built to hold all the parishioners on Christmas and Easter, but on an off Sunday in March, there aren’t that many people and yet you’ve got all that excess capacity in the pews,” Senator King said. “[…] My amendment would basically allow consumers to interconnect at a reasonable price without disruption to the grid, and the goal would be to […] save substantially in energy costs, capacity costs, transmission costs, and infrastructure. To the extent we can flatten this curve, we will save our citizens billions of dollars and make the grid more resilient and self-healing from a national security point of view.”
America’s energy grid has remained relatively unchanged over the past 100 years, but, today, innovative technologies are beginning to fundamentally transform the way electricity is generated and delivered. The amendment discussed by Senator King would support the development of those advanced energy assets, known as distributed energy resources (DER).The amendment, which Senator King will introduce during debate on the Senate floor, is similar to his Free Market Energy Act. The legislation would establish a set of parameters for the governance of DERs – such as solar, wind, and storage technologies – and retain the authority of each state to design its own set of rules within those parameters to properly reflect the state’s needs. Importantly, the parameters would protect the right of consumers to connect their distributed resources to the grid for a reasonable price while also ensuring that grid owners and operators receive proper compensation through a more sophisticated electricity rate design that would maximize the potential of distributed energy resources in relation to the grid. As these DERs are deployed at the edge of the grid, they are helping to create a more secure, resilient, and independent electricity system.