ENERGY POLICY: Udall outlines 'elevator pitch' on clean energy

Environment & Energy Daily
July 14, 2020

Hannah Northey, E&E reporter

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) gave a gathering of "smart grid" and demand-response companies sage advice yesterday on how to sell the green energy movement.

His elevator pitch: Tie it to freedom, flexibility and the right to choose and use energy as you see fit.
"When you [drop] off the grid, the government can't spy on you through those lines [to your] house," Udall told attendees of the National Town meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid in Washington. "You can have some fun with this."

Udall is trumpeting the same message to push legislation he introduced in May with Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

The "Electric Consumer Right to Know Act," or "e-KNOW Act," which is currently before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would amend federal law to establish consumers' rights to access real-time electricity data.

Consumers would be authorized to access and use unaudited information directly from "smart meters" that utilities install to measure electricity consumption in homes or businesses, which is sent through a communications network back to the utility.

Consumers would also have the right to control electricity energy usage information and the right to privacy for the information when third-party aggregators of data are involved in creating, managing or collecting the information.

Dan Delurey, executive director of the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid, said he hopes the message of "freedom" and flexibility resonates with more conservative wings of the Republican Party. "That's a message that they actually use a lot," he said.

Finding support for the technology in the private sector may also take on an increasingly crucial role considering a recently released federal "action plan" to deploy smart grid technology and demand response did not include financial backing (Greenwire, July 6).

The Obama administration's detailed plan to promote demand response, or reduce electricity usage during periods of peak demand, did not include funds but instead pointed out that the Energy Department has repeatedly supported clean energy projects and awarded $4 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for 131 organizations' smart grid programs.

Those funds also financed some demand-response projects, according to the report.

"Speaking for a lot of people here, we had hoped there would be something there in the way of funding to support some of the common things that need to be done like education," Delurey said. "I think it's a reflection of the political situation right now."

E&E Daily

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