Shaheen Bill to Help Overcome Barriers to Use of Clean Energy Passes Key Senate Committee

July 30, 2015

(Washington, D.C.) – Key provisions from a bill Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced to help identify and overcome technical and regulatory barriers to the wider use of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies have been incorporated into the comprehensive energy package passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today.

“We need to remove the obstacles standing between widespread and easy adoption of clean energy,” said Shaheen. “This bill would be an important first step leading to cheaper, more renewable, and higher quality clean energy for anyone who wants more energy options.”

Often the cheapest and most reliable energy source, clean energy resources, such as renewables, fuel cells, combined heat and power and backup generators create electricity at or near the customer with little or no pollution or harmful emissions. The benefits of clean energy can be felt by the users and grid operators, and include energy savings, improved environmental quality, avoided costly investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure upgrades, and enhanced grid resiliency. This is particularly true in the case of distributed energy sources that can function independent of the grid, providing enhanced reliability during extreme weather events, which may compromise central power plants.

With many new sources of clean energy coming on-line, regulators and utilities have to start thinking about how clean energy systems will work together for the benefit of the grid. Grid operators also need more intelligent sensing and control technologies to deal with the inherent problem with renewables involving the uncertain availability of the renewable source.

The Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act, S.1201, directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to identify and address challenges facing clean energy technologies, by collecting information on regulatory obstacles and paving the way for research to overcome technical challenges. Specifically, DOE would prepare a report on the current status of clean energy grid integration, solicit research on technical roadblocks, work with stakeholders to address regulatory obstructions, and create a competitive, three-year grant for successful demonstrations of intelligent grid integration of clean energy systems.

The text of the bill can be found here.