Bipartisan House duo float modernization language 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 15, 2015

The bipartisan co-chairs of the Grid Innovation Caucus unveiled two bills yesterday for shoring up critical transformers, paving the way for federal recognition of “smart grid” technology.

Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of California floated H.R. 2244, which would direct the Energy secretary to shore up an emergency stockpile of mobile high-voltage grid transformers that could replace units damaged by storms or a terrorist attack.

Their measure came as federal energy regulators moved to protect the grid from rare solar storms that can damage transformers.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted yesterday to propose adopting a North American Electric Reliability Corp. standard to require transmission planners and owners to assess the threat of a “one-in-100-year” geomagnetic disturbance from solar flares that can send currents toward Earth and affect the grid (Greenwire, May 14).

The bill arrives ahead of a House hearing next week on grid reliability. The House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee is slated to take up a discussion draft addressing energy reliability and security.

Ellmers and McNerney also unveiled H.R. 2245, which would require the Federal Trade Commission to consider giving “smart grid capable” appliances Energy Guide labels.

The lawmakers said the labels would help consumers by letting them directly monitor energy use and savings.