Last updated: March 4, 2009 - 9:14am
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing Tuesday on smart grid initiatives and technologies. Patrick Gallagher, deputy director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, told the Committee that initial draft guidelines for the development of "smart grid" technology to modernize electricity transmission across the nation may be available by summer. Gallagher's agency has the primary task of coordinating the adoption of a framework for smart grid devices and systems. Many of the standards will be set by the private sector, but Gallagher said his agency would help coordinate that process. Smart grids utilize computers and sensors at power plants to create more efficient and less costly methods of moving electricity. Revamping the nation's energy grid for the twenty-first century could increase demand for a nationwide broadband network. The economic stimulus package passed by Congress last month provided the Energy Department with $4.5 billion for electricity delivery and energy reliability, but Gallagher and other federal regulators at the hearing said standards should be developed to help guide these investments.
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