Monday, March 21, 2011

Colorado lawmakers says no to statewide energy ‘smart grid’

Lawmakers decided against a measure last week that sought to nudge Colorado toward a statewide energy “smart grid.”

Senate Bill 131, by Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, would have required three state agencies, the Department of Labor, the Governor’s Energy Office, and a new division to be formed in the Office of Economic Development, to study ways to move the smart grid concept forward for implementation.

A smart grid is an emerging technological concept in energy that encompasses consumption, production and distribution. Under a smart grid, consumers would send and receive information about their energy usage—from large appliances down to a single light bulb. The information would be transmitted to a utility provider who could then respond accordingly using the real-time, aggregated, energy-usage data.

In 2008 the Colorado Public Utility Commission authorized Xcel Energy to implement a scaled-down version in Boulder. The costs have since escalated beyond the original $15 million estimate to nearly $30 million. The PUC gave permission to Xcel to pass on the cost to all of its customers, not just those in the Boulder area.

Although SB131 only would have looked at the feasibility of, and paths to, implementation, Williams told the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, where the bill was heard, that her proposal represented an important step.

“Colorado is well-positioned to be an intellectual leader in smart grids,” said Williams. “It brings environmental benefits, but it also gives the consumer more control over their energy usage.”

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said the technology is intriguing and that many small utility providers have already implemented aspects of the concept. However, said Brophy, government should not second-guess the marketplace, where advances in technology intersect with cost efficiencies in the right time and place.

“It’s dangerous (for the state government) to get ahead of the technological curve when so many (in the private sector) are doing this without an additional level of bureaucracy,” said Brophy.

The measure failed in the Democratic-controlled committee after Democratic Sen. Lucia Guzman, of Denver, voted with minority Republicans in opposition.

Via - Colorado News Agency

No comments:

Post a Comment