August 01, 2019

Senator Hirono Reintroduces Legislation to Aid Transition into Low Carbon Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation that would promote affordable and reliable electricity from clean energy sources. The Next Generation Electric Systems Act would establish a competitive grant program to modernize the nation’s electric systems to accommodate additional renewable sources, improve energy storage systems, and deliver affordable and reliable energy service to communities. This legislation would help advance Hawaii’s electric power systems to achieve goals set by the state in 2015 to generate 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045.

“Innovative and creative partnerships are necessary to build a low-carbon, energy efficient economy as we transition away from our dependence on fossil fuels and toward a sustainable future,” Senator Hirono said. “The Next Generation Electric Systems Act would foster these partnerships and accelerate the development of new energy technologies to support high levels of renewable power use in our power systems. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will continue fighting for investments in the clean energy economy.”

“This legislation can accelerate the innovation that is creating a flexible, secure and resilient energy network that is essential for public health and safety and the foundation of a strong economy,” Alan Oshima, President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Company, said.

“The latest data shows us that an accelerated transition to an economy powered by clean energy means dollars saved and jobs created in Hawaii. We support this bill because there is a growing need to further support the widespread adoption of distributed energy resources and a significant opportunity for technology advancement on the distribution grid,” Dawn Lippert, CEO of Elemental Excelerator, said.

The Next Generation Electric Systems Act would establish a grant program that brings together public and private expertise to develop and execute projects related to transforming the electric grid. Eligible projects include:

  • Projects to improve the resiliency, performance, and efficiency of the electric grid;
  • The integration of distributed power generation, energy storage, electric vehicles, microgrids, energy efficiency, and customer demand response programs; and
  • The integration of telecommunications and information technologies to support management of the electric system.

Support for the Next Generation Electric Systems Act includes leading electricity industry organizations such as GridWise Alliance. The bill was previously included as part of a package of energy bills that passed the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in 2015, and received overwhelming bipartisan support on the U.S. Senate floor.

The full text of the legislation is available here.