While building a green economy is often discussed as a distinct goal from investing in broadband or overcoming the growing digital divide in our society, new communication technologies are actually a critical part of making our energy-hungry economy more sustainable and energy-efficient.
Deploying broadband and related communication technologies, including
smart meters in the home and smart grids to upgrade our power grid,
have the potential of revolutionizing energy management and economic
development, according to a new report by the Progressive States Network released in association with our partners, Communications Workers of America, the Sierra Club and the Blue Green Alliance. Last
Thursday, leaders from those organizations convened at a panel on
Capitol Hill, hosted by U.S. Representative Edward Markey, Chairman
of the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global
Warming, and joined by Nick Sinai, Director of Energy and Environment
for the FCC's Broadband Strategy Plan, to discuss the findings of the
report entitled Networking the Green Economy
High-speed Internet can be a crucial tool in cuttingAmericans’ energy costs through the promotion of telecommuting and moreefficientenergy use. For example, interactive monitoring of homes and officescan help to reducegreenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint while offering largeeconomicpayoffs. The implementation of smart grids would help manage theintermittency of renewable, environmentally friendly, energy sources.
Optimizing themanagement of energy supply and demand means a reduction in the likelihood ofcrippling regional blackouts or the need for keeping costly reserve powerplants online. Itis predictedthatwide adoption and use high-speed Internet applications can achieve what manyestimate is a net reduction of one billion tons of greenhouse gas over tenyears, which, if converted into energy saved, would constitute 11% of annualU.S. oil imports.