On March 26, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the PREPARE Act — Promoting Regional Energy Partnerships for Advancing Resilient Energy Systems Act — legislation that would help states modernize energy systems to make them cleaner, more efficient, cost-effective, reliable, and resilient.
“In Hawai‘i, we were able to work collaboratively with the Department of Energy and business and community leaders to develop an energy strategy that has increased clean energy production,” said Senator Schatz. “Hawai‘i serves as a model, and our bill will empower the Energy Department to give other states and regions the tools they need to modernize their energy infrastructure and build a cleaner, more resilient system.”
“This bill provides an opportunity for states to collaborate on regional approaches for cleaner power generation and transmission -- which are critical to reducing carbon pollution and keeping prices low for consumers,” said Senator Heinrich. “New Mexico has a unique role to play in coordinating and siting significant new generation and transmission infrastructure that will be essential for diversifying and growing our economy. This type of regional collaboration will benefit New Mexico’s rapidly transforming energy sector.”
With an aging U.S. energy infrastructure in need of replacement and growing challenges to grid security, the PREPARE Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to enter into regional cooperative agreements with states to provide support and funding that will help them develop strategies and plans that address the unique energy needs of the region.
The PREPARE Act is modeled on the successful Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative—a federal-state-business-NGO partnership. Created in 2008, the partnership provided DOE assistance to the state and helped convene cross-sector working groups and coordinate federal technical assistance. Since the partnership began, energy from renewable sources has risen to over 18 percent in Hawai‘i, saving an estimated 794 GWh of electricity and $1.5 billion on electricity bills since 2009. Hawai‘i now ranks 10th in the nation in clean energy jobs.
In addition, NASEO sent a letter of support to Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) expressing support for the PREPARE Act. This Act, introduced by Senators Schatz and Marti Heinrich (D-New Mexico) authorizes the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to enter into multi-state cooperative agreements, providing technical assistance and working closely with key stakeholders to develop strategies and plans that address the unique energy needs of the region. Serving as a long-term strategic partner, DOE can act as convener, independent facilitator, and technical expert on emerging energy issues. Dedicated DOE assistance will help states connect with other federal agencies and national entities, and support planning processes and implementation of core activities. The PREPARE Act will help states and regions identify tangible goals, develop solutions with broad stakeholder support, and foster cooperation in pursuit of a modernized grid and a cleaner and more resilient energy system.
A copy of NASEO’s letter of support for the PREPARE Act is available online. For more information on the PREPARE Act, please contact Jeff Genzer at firstname.lastname@example.org.