Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) have created a free, searchable database of pending energy legislation in all 50 states. This growing information hub, called the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, aims to make available the more than 2,000 current bills in U.S. legislature that could influence the country’s energy systems. Users can search by state, policy type, and/or keywords to find legislation.
Founded in 2011, the CNEE describes itself as a privately-funded initiative to support the growth of a clean energy economy across the U.S. and is led by former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. The AEE says it is a national business organization representing the entire advanced energy industry, from wind, hydro, solar, and natural gas to efficiency and electric vehicles.
Previously, information on energy legislation has been scattered across several resources, presenting a challenge for anyone wanting to track trends or make conclusions based on nationwide data. According to its website, the AEL Tracker “solves this challenge by collecting all advanced energy legislation into one database, assigning each bill to one of 10 policy categories and providing a searchable, visual database complete with trend analysis and reporting.” Now anyone with broadband Internet can gather this information with a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse.
Pieces of legislation fall into one of these categories: Electricity Generation, Energy Efficiency, Financing and Financial Incentives, Regulatory, Natural Gas Development, Emissions, Transportation, Infrastructure, Economic Development, and Other Energy.
While announcing the tracker in April, the AEE reports that the tracker not only allows you to read information on each bill, but it also analyzes trends on energy legislation at the state level.
“With this nonpartisan tool, researchers, journalists, policymakers, and concerned citizens can follow and analyze advanced energy legislation, both individually and in aggregate. The unique tracker will increase awareness of advanced energy and the way state action can unleash its economic potential for the United States,” AEE says.
According to its website, the CNEE’s first trend analysis is on energy efficiency, entitled “Rediscovering the First Fuel.” It expects to publish two or three trend analyses each month.
Why It Matters
For a young organization, this revolutionary database is a big accomplishment, useful to not only professors and researchers, but to anyone curious or concerned about how these matters are being dealt with in our government. As the “green living” trend continues to grow, this database will help those who wish to be more aware of current issues, discussion, and matters at the government level.
Jeff Lyng, senior policy advisor for the CNEE, told The Tribune newspaper, “We feel state legislators and their staffs will really find this useful,” Lyng said. “They can quickly see what other states are doing.”
Lyng continues, “We also believe that industry will use it quite a lot. It could help identify business development opportunities and what’s going on in other states. We also feel that engaged citizens and reporters will find this useful, especially the trend analysis.”
Ritter, of CNEE, also believes examining this data on a state-by-state level will help paint a picture of the nation’s overall role in energy policy.
“If we look at where the country is going on advanced energy policy, overwhelmingly that transition is being led by states,” Ritter said in a statement. “To get the pulse of where the country is going, we need to understand what the states are doing.
Article by Hannah Bloom, a broadband Internet consultant for Zing! Broadband.