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Washington agrees: let’s fix our infrastructure

Updates to America's electricity will save consumers money on their energy bills.
Washington agrees: let’s fix our infrastructure
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Every so often, amidst partisan rancor, a glimmer of hope emerges where both sides want the same thing.  In these rare instances, it’s an opportunity for all of those legislators who came to Washington to get things done to really get to work.

This just happened with infrastructure, and electricity transmission in particular.

The positions of the Trump administration are clear.  They’ve said:

  • Pursue an “America’s Infrastructure First” policy that supports investments in transportation, clean water, a modern and reliable electricity grid, telecommunications, security infrastructure, and other pressing domestic infrastructure needs.President-elect Donald J. Trump
  • We need to make sure that our infrastructure is built for the 21st century and that we have roads and bridges and power grids and infrastructure that support this country, and that’s going to be a big focus. – Steven Mnuchin, nominee for Treasury secretary
  • Building new infrastructure is a critical part of any growth strategy… Now, in an era of low interest rates, there is a unique opportunity to institute an innovative financing plan, one that preserves the lower cost and more rapid execution of a private sector solution to the provision of public infrastructure. – Commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross and UC Irvine business professor Peter Navarro
  • Both hardening and strengthening the grid are going to play a very important role as we go forward at the Department of Energy.—Rick Perry, nominee for Secretary of Energy

Democratic Senators also just released their infrastructure vision, similarly characterizing the challenge:

  • “America’s electrical grid consists of an antiquated patchwork of interconnected power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities, some of which date back to the early 1900s…Our grid simply is not up to 21st century challenges like resiliency to extreme weather events and cyber-attacks. We will invest $100 billion in much-needed power transmission and distribution upgrades.”

We hope legislators and the administration notice this commonality and get to work making it happen. Researchers continually find that grid improvements more than pay for themselves, saving money for American families and businesses while ensuring the lights stay on.

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Betsy Rosenblatt Beck is the Director of Transmission Policy at the American Wind Energy Association. Betsy manages AWEA’s transmission efforts by promoting transmission investment and advancing rules and operations to better accommodate wind on the grid. Betsy has previously worked on electricity and renewable energy policy for Ranking Member Cantwell on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She has also worked at FERC in offices of Enforcement and Commission Norris. Betsy earned a BSE in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

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