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A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future
Aneesh Chopra

A smarter, modernized, and expanded grid will be pivotal to the United States’ world leadership in a clean energy future. This policy framework focuses on the deployment of information and communications technologies in the electricity sector. As they are developed and deployed, these smart grid technologies and applications will bring new capabilities to utilities and their customers. In tandem with the development and deployment of high-capacity transmission lines, which is a topic beyond the scope of this report, smart grid technologies will play an important role in supporting the increased use of clean energy.

The Federal Government, building on the policy direction set forth in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and the Recovery Act’s historic investments in innovation, offers this policy framework to chart a path forward on the imperative to modernize the grid to take advantage of opportunities made possible by modern information, energy, and communications technology. This framework is premised on four pillars: 1) Enabling cost-effective smart grid investments; 2) Unlocking the potential for innovation in the electric sector; 3) Empowering consumers and enabling them to make informed decisions, and 4) Securing the grid.

Each pillar supports a set of policy recommendations that focus on how to facilitate a smarter and more secure grid. Progress in all four areas, as part of an overall grid modernization effort, will require sustained cooperation between the private sector, state and local governments, the Federal Government, consumer groups, and other stakeholders. Such progress is important for the United States to lead the world in the 21st century economy, be at the forefront of the clean energy revolution, and to win the future by encouraging American innovation.

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