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How Congress’ Infrastructure Bill Actually Improves the Grid

It seems hard to believe, but politicians actually do something right every once in a while.

No matter what you think of the United States’ Infrastructure Bill, it will undeniably improve our nation’s energy efficiency.

Modern as our nation is, many parts of our current grid are actually…get this…more than a century old!

Energy.gov even maintains that 70% of our utility lines and power transformers are more than 25 years old. And the average power plant is about 30 years old.

Think back to the technology you used in your daily life 25-30 years ago and compare it to what you use now.

The quality isn’t even close. And the technology barely even resembles what it used to.

For the world’s greatest, and possibly only, superpower, that seems a bit strange, doesn’t it?

The Active Efficiency Collaborative believes that upgrading technologies and using an “Active Efficiency” approach could cut US energy consumption by 50% or more by 2050.

Check out a few of these examples to see how the Infrastructure Bill reduces our energy consumption:

1. Integration of Distributed Energy Resources

“Distributed energy resources” refers to energy harvested and stored by consumers (rather than public or private utilities).

So, for example, this would be a neighborhood in California powered by a local solar collector.

During everyday usage, the local community would rely on this solar collector as much as possible (rather than the public grid).

This cuts down on transmission losses and improves sustainability.

Other examples of distributed energy resources that will be integrated with the bill include electric vehicles, digital energy devices, and battery storage, among others.

2. Improved Electricity Supply

These distributed energy resources could make a profound impact on the grid’s efficiency overall.

For example, an electric car that charges overnight could have its excess energy sent back to the grid.

Plus, people who provide this energy to the grid would be financially compensated for doing so.

The grid currently isn’t ready for this. But the Infrastructure Bill will help it get there.

3. Saving Energy When Needed

“Demand response” describes using energy when it is abundant and saving energy when the supply runs low.

Take for example wind turbines. They can only generate electricity when it’s windy. If there’s no wind, or little of it, the amount of energy they supply goes way down.

And that would affect the grid’s supply as a whole.

The Infrastructure Bill helps state regulators set electric rates that encourage usage when the supply is high and discourage energy usage when the supply runs low.

Politics aside, some of the goals the Infrastructure Bill aspires to accomplish aren’t all that bad.

So watch for these changes in 2022 and beyond!

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