US Senate seeks to build consensus on smart energy bill

House of Representatives energy committee
The House of Representatives is believed to be more conservative in its smart energy proposals

In North America, the United States government is working on a bipartisan energy bill that seeks to addresses smart energy issues including rooftop solar and smart grid technology.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee of the Senate is seeking to build consensus between the different political parties on more than 20 proposals aimed at promoting natural gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, smart grid technology such as energy storage, and alternative sources such as distributed generation.

This Thursday the committee will hear 22 smart energy bills introduced by congressmen from all sides of the political spectrum in a bid to update federal energy policies that have not changed since the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, reports US-based Energywire.

Regarding rooftop solar, Senator Angus King of Maine is raising a proposal to address concerns over net metering and how to determine what rates are ‘just’ for utilities to pay customers who sell back to the grid electricity generated from their rooftop solar panels.

Mr King’s bill would set parameters to guide state net metering decisions to account for the benefits provided by distributed generation resources – a proposal he expects to draw criticism from the utility sector, reports E&E Daily.

Building consensus among energy industry

The Energy and Commerce Committee in the US House of Representatives is writing a companion energy bill, although analysts say its proposals tend to be more conservative than in the Senate.

In March 2015, the committee held a hearing with utilities, energy technology companies and research organizations to seek opinion on how America can transition towards a smart grid.

The one-day session on March 4, ’21st Century Electricity Challenge: Ensuring a Secure, Reliable and Modern Electricity System’, looked at how new advanced grid technologies and big data energy analytics can help build a more modern and flexible electricity system.

C3 energy chairman and CEO Thomas M. Siebel was one of seven witnesses at the hearing, including DEKA Research & Development Corporation, Alevo Energy, Enphase Energy, Gridco systems, Alstom Grid and Lakeland Electric.