“Federal Government and the Clean Energy Economy – Carpe diem”

You could have heard a pin drop as Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-21) made his presentation, “Federal government and the clean energy economy – Carpe diem” to a special luncheon presentation of our New York Clean Energy Forum this past Monday.  In spite of the fact that, as we all know, Congress will act proactively for any energy legislation, the Congressman made a compelling case for Congress to act swiftly and decisively to craft an energy plan. 

An engineer, Congressman Tonko is well suited in his role as a member of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee.  The Science and Technology Committee play a pivotal role in energy issues due to their appropriating role with regard to energy research and development.  Many an energy innovation got its start with R&D funding that came through the House Science and Technology Committee. 

Tonko made a proactive case for more distributed generation throughout our country.  He pointed out the attributes of off-grid energy both in terms of saving the consumer money but also in terms of long term energy efficiency.  Smart Grid/Smart Energy projects should continue to be funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, Tonko stated, as they will ultimately engage the consumer with their energy use and resulting energy efficiency. He made a case for the Infrastructure Bank Bill, legislation that would use $10 billion to leverage $100 billion for communication upgrade and smart energy.