Obama has advocated, then we will need new
infrastructure designed for the task. This will
include construction of feeder lines to allow
new large-scale renewable energy projects to
connect up to the grid. It will also require extra-high-voltage electricity transmission upgrades
to permit that power from remote renewable
energy-rich regions to reach consumers.
Similarly, if we want massive numbers of
consumers to make smart choices about how
they produce and use electricity, then they will
need access to real-time information on the true
costs and impacts of their energy choices and
their patterns of consumption. That will require
deploying “smart meters” or other technology
for managing energy distribution and use both
on a smart electric grid and in our homes.
Getting the 21st-century grid we need
requires changes in federal regulatory policy
and adoption of new incentives. The underlying policy changes must include substantial
reform of the regulatory structure for planning, siting and paying for an extra-high-voltage transmission grid and new transmission lines. In addition, it will require policies
for modernizing distribution networks with
information technology. Through these measures, we can also address economic and
national security concerns, create good jobs
and improve the resilience of the grid. Spe-
When it is fully implemented, the renewable energy pipeline will transform our entire economy.
Our energy mix will include everything from large-scale solar power plants to building retrofits,
advanced energy storage and electrified vehicles. A more diverse energy mix will mean fewer price
spikes for consumers.
cifically, federal policy changes will need to
include several conditions.
Planning on an interconnection-wide basis
that brings together multiple states in a transparent, participatory process to maximize the
ASES Policy Recommendations Target a Smart Grid
In March the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) released a comprehensive set
of federal policy recommendations to generate 37 million U.S. jobs in renewable
energy and energy efficiency by 2030 — while reducing greenhouse gas emissions
80 percent by 2050 (compared to 2006 levels). ASES assembled leading experts in
renewable energy and energy efficiency to develop these recommendations for
speeding the transition to a sustainable energy economy.
Among the seven topical areas of focus, the ASES recommendations promote
policies for a smart grid and transmission upgrades:
• Conduct nationally coordinated studies to focus on large-scale transmission
from renewable energy resources to load centers.
• Create a renewable energy-enabling transmission action plan that addresses
siting, flexible/firm transmission rates, storage and support services.
• Establish national standards to enable smart grid development, including
demand response, real-time pricing and consumer pricing information, storage,
vehicle-to-grid technology and distribution automation.
Other policy focus areas include carbon, building energy efficiency and renewable energy, renewable electricity, transportation, green economy and workforce
development, and federal leadership. Access the full report, “ASES’ Policy Recom-
mendations for the 111th Congress,” at
Copyright © 2009 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
use of renewable resources and optimize the
reliability, efficiency and economics of the
entire system, rather than the current state-by-state, utility-by-utility or even regional planning approach.
One-stop certification and siting for new
renewable energy transmission projects so
that projects identified in a multistate planning
process can receive consolidated review and
approval, rather than relying on a system of
multiple unconnected permitting agencies.
Broad cost sharing to ensure that the
expense of new grid investments is shared by
all ratepayers, driving down costs and guaranteeing that no single state or region shoulders
Enhanced federal financial support for
smart-grid technologies that will improve the
capability of utilities to monitor and control
this new national grid and give individual consumers the capability to better manage their
own energy use. This federal financial support
should include expanded incentives for deploying smart-grid technology across the existing
grid, financial and technical assistance for
state utility regulators and others overseeing
this work, and federal grants to speed regional
smart-grid pilot projects.
Connecting these infrastructure investments
solartoday.org SOLAR TODAY May 2009