How modern is the Energy Policy Modernization Act?

How modern is the Energy Policy Modernization Act?

A broad bipartisan energy bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, has been introduced that includes five overarching topics: efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability and conservation reauthorization -- wind and solar, however, are conspicuously absent.

"How can you modernize energy policy without making a single mention of wind or solar?," Kate DeAngelis, Friends of the Earth climate and energy campaigner, asked.

This shouldn't really come as a huge surprise, since the bill was drafted, in part, by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman (and nuclear proponent) Lisa Murkowski.

Two additional pieces of legislation were added to the Modernization Act -- the Energy Title of America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 and the ExaSCALE Computing Leadership Act of 2015 -- authored by staunch nuclear supporter U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander who recently called a tax extenders bill that would extend the federal renewable energy production tax credit "a national windmill policy."

"Our country uses about 25 percent of the electricity in the world. Relying on windmills to produce that electricity when nuclear power is available is the energy equivalent of going to war in sailboats when nuclear ships are available," Alexander, who is also chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said.

Of the overall Energy Policy Modernization Act, he said, "I commend Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Cantwell's work in crafting a bipartisan energy bill that includes provisions that would reauthorize key basic energy research programs and jumpstart research into exascale computing. It is imperative that the United States maintain its brainpower advantage to create an abundance of clean, cheap, reliable energy to fuel innovation in our free enterprise system."

The Energy Title of America COMPETES Reauthorization Act is legislation that would reauthorize basic energy research programs. Specifically, it would authorize a 4 percent increase in funding for basic energy research each year and reauthorize the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science and ARPA-E for five years, putting the DOE on a path toward doubling the roughly $5 billion it spends on energy technology research.

"Governing is about setting priorities, and this legislation will put us on a path to double basic energy research -- one of the best ways to keep good-paying jobs from going overseas -- while streamlining basic energy research programs at the U.S. Department of Energy," Alexander said. "As researchers have told me, it's hard to think of an important technological advance since World War II that has not involved at least some government-sponsored research."

Source: Smart Grid News

SMART GRID Bulletin March 2017


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