Klobuchar urges passage of bipartisan rural renewables bill

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minn.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., testified Tuesday, July 9, at the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to urge passage of her bipartisan legislation to help rural communities access renewable energy.

The Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act, introduced with Sen. Jerry Moran. R-Kansas, is intended to assist rural communities and rural electric cooperatives overcome barriers to renewable energy storage and grid improvements by providing access to relevant resources and expertise.

“We are at an important moment in history that requires us to consider new approaches and strategies that can address the pressing energy issues facing our country,” Klobuchar stated in a news release.

The need to improve energy grid capacity and resiliency, as well as the intermittency of solar and wind power, has increased interest in energy storage, which can contribute to meeting electricity demand during peak times.

According to the release, in 2017 the U.S. generated 4 billion megawatt-hours of electricity, but had only 431 megawatt-hours of electricity storage available. Although tax incentives have aided development of renewable energy projects, some of the most significant barriers to exploration and establishment of new renewable energy projects like storage in rural communities is navigating the planning, implementation and maintenance of these projects. Some of these major barriers to development of new rural projects can be reduced by providing communities and rural electric cooperatives with access to relevant resources and expertise.

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