Federal Communications Commission hires energy director

By Kathleen Davis, Senior Editor

It looks like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is getting serious about the smart grid. No more sitting back on their heels and watching the smart grid show. They’ve hired Nick Sinai, a former venture capitalist, as director of energy and environment.

Sinai has worked for Polaris Ventures (serving awhile as VP for GreenFuel Technologies), Tenaya Capital and Lehman Brothers Venture Partner. (We recently reached out to Sinai via e-mail, and he responded that he’s happy to be on board with the FCC. We’re hoping to expand our discussion with Sinai very soon.)

Rumors over industy blogs (peHUB, earth2tech) and Twitter feeds (the UTC) abound that Sinai is being tapped to spearhead broadband. The Broadband Initiatives at the FCC, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are intended to accelerate broadband deployment across the United States. The Recovery Act authorizes the FCC to create the National Broadband Plan that “shall seek to ensure that all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal.”

peHUB quotes Sinai as saying he will head “a team that will examine how broadband/communications infrastructure and policies can support our national energy and environmental goals, with an emphasis on the smart grid.”

At the moment, Sinai’s already scheduled to run a smart grids-related Webcast on Tuesday, August 25.

The goal of this workshop is to identify potential impacts of a National Broadband Plan on Energy, the Environment, and Transportation and to explore how the broadband and communications infrastructure can play a transformative role in meeting our national energy, environmental and transportation goals. In particular, the FCC will be interested in learning about how broadband can accelerate efforts to build a smarter electricity infrastructure.

For more information on the workshop, visit: http://www.broadband.gov/ws_eng_env_trans.html

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