Industry to Obama: We're BEGGING you for a national energy policy (and here's what should be in it)



Quick Take: The 400+ members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) manufacture products all up and down the electricity value chain, including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, industrial automation, building controls, energy storage and much more. They recently sent a report to the U.S. Secretary of Energy detailing the things they would like to see in the upcoming Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) -- the closest thing America has to a national energy policy.   - Jesse Berst


Conditions are making it essential to transform the power grid - the retirement of coal plants, the onset of renewable generation at scale, demand-side programs, energy storage and more. These changes require an accelerated development of new technologies to, among other things, transform the power grid.


They also require a national energy roadmap. "That is why an overarching strategy for the country does make sense," said John Estey, executive chairman of S&C Electric Co., a NEMA member, speaking at a media briefing as reported by "It is something that is desperately lacking at this moment."


Many of the NEMA recommendations relate directly to the smart grid, including:

·      Incentives for microgrids and energy storage

·      Policy changes to allow the replacement of storm-damaged grid equipment with state-of-the-art gear

·      Policy changes to protect vendors against lawsuits in the event of a large-scale cyberattack

·      Accelerated depreciation for smart grid technologies

·      A national infrastructure bank to reduce financing costs for grid modernization


Estey and many of his colleagues are (rightfully) worried that the QER will end up as a grab-bag of concepts without any prioritization. "The squad doing the QER has got to do the hard work of figuring out which of these things makes sense and which don't. If they just throw this all in a bucket and say, 'Here are some ideas for you,' they've wasted everybody's time."


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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