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McNerney introduces energy legislation

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 12:19 pm in Environment, Jerry McNerney.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Former windmill guru Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, introduced three bills this week designed to squeeze more efficiency out of the nation’s electrical grid and train young people for green jobs.

The Smart Grid Advancement Act (HR 1774) requires utility companies and states to develop a plan for the use of technology that allows appliances such as refrigerators to reduce their draw on the electricity grid during peak use hours.

The shift would spread out demand for electricity and reduce costs associated with the construction of high-capacity plants required to meet the peak demand hours,  McNerney said during a call-in press conference with reporters this morning.

The Vehicles for the Future Act (HR1730) requires public utility commissions to develop plans for the installation of fee-based electrical charging stations for plug-in hybrid or electric cars.

“The average electric vehicle is a much more efficient way to move cars up and down the highway,” McNerney said. “It is the equivalent of 75 cents a gallon (of gas.) But the utilities need a way to know who is plugging in in order to charge the appropriate person.”

The GREEN Act (HR 1775) seeks $100 million for the creation of college and career school training programs in green energy jobs.  The federal Department of Education would award the funds throughout the nation in a competitive grant program.

“The smart grid and vehicles of the future are more long-term but the GREEN Act will have a more immediate impact because it will allow schools to develop programs right away to start teaching,” McNerney said. “They will be able to hire teachers and get programs going right away so that workers will be available to put in projects like solar panels, windmills or geothermal projects.”

McNerney is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

To become law, the bills must pass out of McNerney’s committee, the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and be signed by the president.

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  • John W

    I voted for Jerry and agree with pushing the envelope in developing green energy. But these two pieces of legislation smack of a government “command and control” approach to development that could have unintended consequences.