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State Sen Hansen files bill to expand State Energy Office, revisit Comprehensive Energy Plan

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

A Senate bill introduced last week would expand the State Energy Office and its work.

A number of state agencies each have a piece of the energy puzzle, and Senate Bill 7 would make the State Energy Office the coordinating entity to put those pieces together.

Bill sponsor State Sen. Stephanie Hansen (D-Middletown) says the state is facing serious energy issues.

“Particularly the buildout of our electric grid, our energy grid, to handle all the various types of renewable energy that we have, the types of energy storage, the need for additional capacity," Hansen said. "The actual buildout of that system that's going to allow all of this to happen for us, needs to be planned for and needs to be coordinated.”

Hansen says the office has some general responsibilities with regard to coordinating energy efficiency programs, but she says the bill will give them more manpower to look at emerging technologies.

“And it's not as simple as just building more solar or contracting and getting offshore wind," she said. "You actually have to be able to then get the energy to the end user. And the movement of that energy back and forth across our energy grid, and having a grid thats going to be able to accommodate that are big issues that we’re facing right now.”

The office will also be tasked with revisiting the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, last edited in 2009.

The bill would also expand the eight-person office by five, but Hansen says the total cost to do that has not yet been determined.

Under SB 7, the office will also be tasked with offshore wind transmission planning.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate Environment, Energy and Transportation Committee.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.