July 30, 2015
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today spearheaded the passage of an amendment through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that would provide badly-needed federal guidance to states as they work to settle disputes over the future of distributed energy resources.
“As more and more people recognize the advantages of making their own power, states and utility companies are duking it out over how to best incorporate these new distributed resources into the electric grid,” Senator King said. “But without any guidance from the federal government, there’s no referee in the fight. My amendment would direct the Department of Energy to conduct a study on net metering and publish guidance that can be used by states on how these new and innovative distributed technologies can play a role in our energy future.”
More specifically, this amendment would require the Department of Energy to conduct a study on net metering and release related guidance to ensure that owners of distributed energy resources (DERs) are properly compensated for the energy they add to the electricity grid. The study would be available as unbiased guidance to help mediate ongoing battles at the state level, such as those seen in Arizona and Hawaii, where the future of distributed energy resources is unclear. The study requirement is similar to a provision in Senator King’s Free Market Energy Act, a broader bill that would promote individual energy independence and improve national security by helping states to create a true free market for distributed energy resources.
The amendment authored by Senator King passed today as part of a broader, bipartisan energy bill – the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 – that reflects common ground on energy efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability, and land conservation. The bill also contains several other provisions authored or supported by Senator King:
The Energy Policy Modernization Act builds on recent technological breakthroughs and promises to bring substantial benefits to American families and businesses while protecting the environment. Its provisions will save energy, expand domestic production, facilitate investment in critical infrastructure, protect the electrical grid, boost energy trade, improve the performance of federal agencies, and reauthorize certain programs that have proven effective. The end result will be more affordable energy, more abundant energy, and more functional energy systems that will strengthen and sustain our energy nation’s renaissance. The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act will also achieve these goals in a fiscally-responsible manner.
The Committee today also passed legislation that would lift the U.S. ban on crude oil exports and rollback restrictions on offshore energy production. Senator King, who opposed that bill, released the following statement:
“I’m open to having a conversation about offshore energy production and restrictions on crude oil exports, but oil can’t be the only energy future this nation has. We need an all-of-the-above energy strategy – and, unfortunately, that’s not what this bill represents,” Senator King said. “This bill offers little for consumers and even less in the way of developing the clean, renewable sources that are going to define our energy future. Lifting crude oil exports or offshore production without investing in those priorities at the same time would only hurt American consumers. As this bill makes it to the floor, I hope we can pursue a more balanced approach that also takes into account the role that green technologies can play here in America.”