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Latta, McNerney: Use Resilient Technologies When Rebuilding Disaster-Stricken Areas

Washington, December 6, 2017 | Drew Griffin (202-225-6405)
Tags: Energy
In a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) and Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA) encouraged the use of resilient technologies when rebuilding regions affected by recent natural disasters. The letter, which was addressed to Chairman Rodney Freylinghuysen (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), asks that language be included in disaster supplemental appropriations bills to provide that funding, to the extent practicable, utilize future technologies to prevent future outages and enhance resiliency of the electric grid. Currently, there is no requirement to rebuild energy infrastructure beyond pre-storm status despite the fact that many of these areas face the potential of natural disasters in the future.  

The letter says, “The electric power grid is the backbone of the U.S. economy and society, and a reliable grid is fundamental to our day-to-day functionality and to our national security. Although much has been done to modernize the electric grid, more must be done, particularly as it relate to system resilience.

Millions of Americans are enduring the aftermath of recent wildfire and hurricanes, trying to piece back together their homes and their lives, often with an unpredictable  time frame for a solution. And while we can never fully prevent or mitigate the damage caused by natural disaster, we must focus on forward-thinking solutions that prioritize grid modernization efforts that secure our energy grid against future challenges.”

The letter continues, “During times of natural disaster the significance and necessity of the American energy grid is evident in every way, and presents us the ability to emphasize the importance of incorporating resiliency when rebuilding our grid. We encourage you to include language in supplemental appropriations bills to provide that funding should, to the extent practicable, utilize technologies to mitigate future outages and enhance resiliency of the electric grid rather than simply rebuilding to pre-event conditions.”

Reps. Latta and McNerney co-chair the bipartisan Grid Innovation Caucus, which advocates for technological innovation, educates Members of Congress, and promotes policies that enhance grid operations. Earlier this year, they introduced a resolution in favor of advancing modernization of the United States’ energy delivery infrastructure. They also co-authored H.R. 3290, legislation that would modernize the nation’s aging electric grid and improve reliability.
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