Broadband & Energy and the Environment
Energy and the Environment Highlights
Broadband investment will help us lead the world in 21st century energy innovation. Here’s how we get there:
Unleash energy innovation in homes by making energy data readily accessible to consumers.
For too long the innovation of computing and communications has not been applied to energy management and efficiency. Families and businesses know almost nothing about their electricity consumption and related costs until they receive their utility bill. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that when people get feedback on their electricity usage, they make simple changes that save energy. Real-time information can also inform automated thermostats and appliances, enabling consumers to save energy and money automatically, while helping the country avoid new expensive power plants. To unleash innovation in smart homes and buildings, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption. National security and prosperity demands the country transition to a future where energy is clean, affordable, and reliable. We can get there if we unleash American entrepreneurship, innovation, and ingenuity by providing consumers with access to their energy data.
Modernize the electric grid with broadband, making it more reliable and efficient.
Our aging electrical grid is a patchwork of out-dated infrastructure. It's not just a system that delivers energy inefficiently -- the country’s electric grid is increasingly vulnerable to failure and attack. To ensure American energy independence and efficiency, broadband and other advanced communications technologies must be used to modernize the grid. Paired with high-tech tools, like dynamic management software and remote sensors, broadband will be crucial to advancing innovations in renewable power, grid storage, and vehicle electrification.
There are over 3,000 electric utilities across the country, with different topographies, environments, and regulatory regimes. The vision of a "Smart Grid" will not just use one type of communications network -- which is exactly why leveraging the flexibility and scope of broadband technologies makes sense.
Improve the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the ICT sector are growing three times faster than those from the rest of the economy. The electricity used up by data storage centers alone is expected to double from 2006 to 2011. The federal government should lead industry and examine ways to more effectively measure its data centers and craft solutions to make them more efficient, like the proven ENERGY STAR standard. In addition, the FCC will work with industry to understand how the ICT sector can improve its energy efficiency and environmental impact.
Transition to a safer, cleaner, and more efficient transportation sector.
The transportation industry is the second largest consumer of energy and the second highest emitter of greenhouse gases. Digital innovations – like real-time traffic information systems and broadband-enabled navigation tools – can enable more efficient route-planning and driving for commuters and commercial operators. A more connected transportation sector can also promote safety, ease navigation, and enable tools to reduce distracted driving. Broadband can also incentivize mass transit by giving riders a more productive, connectivity-rich commute. The benefits of increased transportation connectivity, along with providing alternatives to travel through web conferencing and telecommuting, will reduce the time spent on roads, improve vehicle performance, and cut our carbon emissions.