Ron Wyden – Making Smart Grid a Reality in the U.S.

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Here’s some good news: U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden is a huge supporter of smart grid. In fact, he recently promised to do everything he can to move the government’s “clumsy … machinery” to make the U.S. electric grid a smart grid.

Demographically, Wyden is perfect for the job (an Oregon Democrat). Thus it’s clear that not everyone on Capitol Hill agrees with him on this initiative. But the fact that anyone in that blighted region of the universe is even talking about the subject is a pleasant surprise. Per the report linked above:

(Wyden) is planning to hold oversight hearings with federal agencies responsible for building out the smart grid to understand whether they are working on all angles to facilitate a transition to a digitized grid, especially on the consumer end.

In addition, he said he’s working on a tax reform measure aimed at achieving “neutrality and parity” for all energy technologies that could strip tax incentives for the oil and nuclear industries. Technological parity, he said, would help newcomers such as energy storage, which is key for introducing more renewable energy and demand response to supply electricity.

“Modernization of the country’s electric system is under way. Are we going to allow that momentum to accelerate or just play nice and think it is going to happen by osmosis?” Wyden told the Edison Foundation’s “Powering the People” conference in Washington, D.C. “The Recovery Act certainly helped and promoted some innovation. … The question is now can we mobilize and make sure that the private sector, utilities, regulators, financial community and all those that helped us get us to where we are today reach the next level?”

A level playing field for clean energy? An end to subsidies for the oil companies? You have my full support, sir.

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About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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