Democratic News

Feb 08 2018

Cantwell To Congress: We Must Meet Consumer Demand For Modern Energy Infrastructure

Business leaders show how Washington state is leading the way and serves as the model on energy infrastructure for the country.

Watch Sen. Cantwell’s full opening remarks here.

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Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) called for greater investments for modernizing energy infrastructure to help lower rates for consumers and create the good paying jobs of the future.

“We need to invest in modernizing our infrastructure to meet demands, help lower consumers’ bills, and provide security,” said Senator Cantwell during the hearing.  “We know that there is a good return on this investment. We learned from the Recovery Act, that $1 billion dollars invested in smart grid technologies created nearly $7 billion dollars in economic output and nearly 50,000 jobs.”

Senator Cantwell also highlighted the work of McKinstry and Itron, two businesses from the State of Washington who are leading the way in energy infrastructure. David Allen, Executive Vice President of McKinstry, and Phillip Mezey, CEO of Itron provided testimony at the hearing. “Both these companies are developing next-generation technology that I believe should be part of our energy infrastructure investment in the future,” said Senator Cantwell.

McKinstry is a Seattle based company that originally started in 1934 as a plumbing and pipe fitting, but transitioned to developing technology to retrofit buildings to become more energy efficient.  Executive Vice President David Allen discussed the company’s role in making Amazon’s newest office buildings more energy efficient by using the waste heat from a data center in the Westin Building to heat Amazon’s four high rise towers across the street. “The Amazon eco-district was interesting, I want to remind everyone that it’s small, it’s a metaphor for what is possible in a big way around the country,” Allen said. “The building stock in America is totally ripe for …that idea.”

“80 billion square feet of non-industrial facility space uses 70 percent of the electricity in the U.S...and that half of that energy from generation to consumption is wasted,” said Allen. “Making energy efficiency one of the largest sources of renewable energy.”

Phillip Mezey, CEO of Itron, a Spokane area business also provided testimony at the hearing. “The kind of smart technology from smart metering to networks and censors that can be placed out there give us the tools to allow us to understand where to invest the money and when…so that we can…help our utilities to be more successful and help our customers to understand more effectively how they are using these critical resources,” said Mezey.

Itron is a leading manufacturer of innovative grid and smart metering technology. Their solutions help cities, utilities, and consumers better manage energy and water resources and move towards a cleaner energy economy,” said Senator Cantwell.

“As our energy infrastructure is upgraded with new technology to be smarter, the workforce needs to also be upgraded with those skills,” said Senator Cantwell. “That is why we need to make this infrastructure investment, and I hope that our colleagues after today’s hearing will see the benefit of it – no matter what the source of base energy is, energy efficiency is a big winner for our consumers and businesses.”

The video of Senator Cantwell’s opening statement can be found here. 

Witness testimony will be available online immediately before the start of each hearing at on committee website.

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