Electric Grid Initiative shaping smart grid policy

Tools

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) developed under its Electric Grid Initiative makes clear that policies can improve grid reliability and spur clean energy generation.

Consumers increasingly have a stake in a resilient and reliable electric system after experiencing major blackouts and weather-related outages across the country. These electricity outages represent a huge cost to the U.S. economy and raise a variety of safety and security issues.

Outages in the U.S. are estimated to cost businesses roughly $79 billion a year.

"It makes good economic sense to responsibly invest now, so as to minimize the financial damages that result from outages," said former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Curt Hébert, who is also a co-chair of the Electric Grid Initiative. "Going forward, sustainable investment in needed electric grid infrastructure will be critical to a robust U.S. economy."

The electricity generation mix is changing in response to energy market conditions, as well as state and federal energy or environmental policies. Natural gas and renewable energy resources provide benefits as well as challenges for an electric system infrastructure that was built for more traditional types of electric power technologies.

BPC's Electric Grid Initiative, including power companies, academia, states, and regional transmission organizations, developed recommendations in four broad policy areas to address these concerns: encouraging efficient transmission and distribution investment, advancing planning and operational coordination across jurisdictions, enabling a more flexible and resilient system, and monitoring and enhancing operational reliability.

"It's a win for both the environment and grid reliability when we increase opportunities for demand-side resources and a variety of advanced grid technologies," said Allison Clements, director of the Sustainable FERC Project at Natural Resources Defense Council and Electric Grid Initiative co-chair. "Innovative businesses are being created as a result of some of these new technologies," she said.

For more:
- see the report

Related Article:
Another record-setting weather event for utilities