Ensuring a reliable, energy-efficent energy grid is vital to ensuring America remains attractive for American business while at the same time reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

 We must find new ways to power our cities and states while ensuring that we do not harm our environment.

Smart Grids

Growing demand coupled with inefficiencies in our electric grid have impacted the reliability our nation’s electric power. 

Experts on the nation's electricity system point to a frighteningly steep increase in non-disaster-related outages affecting at least 50,000 consumers.  During the past two decades, such blackouts have increased 124 percent -- up from 41 blackouts between 1991 and 1995, to 92 between 2001 and 2005, according to research at the University of Minnesota.  The blackout in 2003 blackout that struck the Northeast and parts of the Midwest impacted millions of people and cost billions.  

Rolling blackouts and inefficiencies in the U.S. electrical grid cost an estimated $80 billion a year (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2005).   And with 160,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines we know the challenge ahead is great.

Embracing smart grid technologies will result in more efficient transmission of electricity; quicker restoration of electricity after power outages; reduced peak demand which wouldhelp lower rates; and improved security.  To maintain our economic prosperity, our  nation must rely on 21st Century smart grid innovations and technologies.

 

Renewables

We should no longer depend upon the importation of foreign oil to fuel our cars, planes and ships because it sends American’s hard-earned money to countries that are at odds with American interests. Through investments in technology research and development we can begin to move away from this dangerous reliance, improve our national security, and create renewable energy sources that can be made right here in the United States.

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

Traffic congestion cuts into worker productivity, delays deliveries, wastes gasoline and adds to air pollution.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation sector accounted for 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2003.  Fortunately, employing cutting edge technologies to help address congestion on our nation’s roads, transit systems and airports is a challenge that many cities and communities are dealing with across the nation.  Access to real-time traffic data whether on the roads, runways, or rails empowers commuters with information they can use to avoid a particular travel route or know when the next train or bus is scheduled to arrive at their stop.  A faster, more reliable commute will greatly enhance our quality of life which means less time in traffic, greater productivity and more time at home with family or friends.

Examples of successfully deployed ITS technologies that have assisted in reducing traffic congestion include intelligent traffic signals, electronic tolling, real time traffic navigation systems, active traffic management and incident response systems, ramp metering, high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, and Bus Rapid Transit. 

Continued development and deployment of cutting edge technologies to ease our daily commutes and promote greater efficiency and reliability on our transportation systems are critical.  Traffic congestion in major metropolitan areas alone costs our economy more than $78 billion each year.  In 2009, over $115 billion and 3.9 billion gallons of fuel was wasted due to congestion (Texas Transportation Institute). In these challenging economic times, those are dollars we can afford to waste.  Smart investments in ITS will continue to result is higher productivity and better quality of life for all Americans and that is a goal worth achieving.

Infrastructure That Needs Investment