On June 13, 2011, the White House released a new report by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) entitled “A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future.” The report highlights the need for continuing cooperation and collaboration between the Administration, the states, and other stakeholders in order to implement key actions. Building on the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and $4.5 billion in funding for electric grid modernization initiatives provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the report offers policy recommendations for future state and federal commitment to clean energy under four overarching goals:
1) Enabling cost-effective smart grid investments
The Administration indicated that it will continue to invest in smart grid research, development, and demonstration projects, and to support information sharing so that state and federal regulators are better able to align market and utility incentives with the provision of cost-effective investments that improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid. The report lists examples, such as investing in personalized measurement and programmable control systems like reactive power technologies or automatic meter readers, which can save energy costs and human resources for utilities and consumers alike.
2) Unlocking the potential for innovation in the electric sector
The Administration indicated its continuing support for the development and adoption of open interoperability standards for smart grid devices and systems. The Administration encourages Federal, state, and local officials to work to reduce the generation costs associated with providing power to consumers or wholesale providers during periods of peak demand through participation in demand management programs. Examples included in the report include innovative time-varying rate designs to capture these fluctuations in power supply or direct load control programs which allow consumers to remotely turn off appliances and thermostats.
3) Empowering consumers and enabling them to make informed decisions
The report directs state and federal policymakers and regulators to evaluate the best means of ensuring that consumers receive meaningful information and education about smart grid technologies and options. The report places a special emphasis on providing consumers timely access to, and control over, machine-readable information about their energy consumption in a standard format. According to the Administration, state and federal regulators should also consider methods of making it easier for consumer-facing devices and applications to manage energy consumption.
4) Securing the electric grid
The Administration will continue to facilitate the development of rigorous, open standards and guidelines for electric grid cybersecurity through public-private cooperation. The Federal Government will work with stakeholders to promote a rigorous, performance-based cybersecurity culture, including active risk management, performance evaluations, and ongoing monitoring.