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Institute for Energy and the Environment

Smart Grid Project

The US electric transmission and distribution system is on the verge of a transformation to a smart electric grid. At the center of the evolution of the smart electric grid is the introduction of new technology at the customer meter, as well as the distribution and transmission system level. This technological innovation has required that the road map to a smart electric grid become a partnership of electric utilities and technology companies. Unsurprisingly, the introduction of this new technology has presented new legal, policy and regulatory challenges for state and federal utility regulators. The federal government has added additional momentum to this technological evolution by awarding $3.4 billion in smart grid investment grants to utilities and other entities as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These investments are supporting two types of investments in smart grid technology—implementation of smart grid technology across utility service territories and demonstration of smart grid technology.

The Smart Grid Research Project is utilizing case study research to examine: What legal, regulatory and other policy changes can best ensure that Smart Grid implementation in the US improves reliability, enhances consumer value, and meets our clean energy goals? The following entities are cooperating with the research team to document their Smart Grid implementation with a case study.

Commonwealth Edison

• Central Vermont Public Service Company

• Long Island Power Authority

• National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Pecan Street Project

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)

Salt River Project

San Diego Gas and Electric

During the 2012/13 academic year, the research team will look across these case studies to examine the challenges to smart grid implementation and recommend lessons learned and best practices that can be replicated across the country. The final report will address the following topics:

• Legal, Regulatory, Structural Barriers, Including Privacy Concerns

• Supercharging Energy Efficiency and Expanding Demand Response with Smart Meters

• Integration of Distributed Generation & Storage Technologies

• Achieving Environmental Improvement with Electric Vehicles

• Automating the Distribution System, including Conservation Voltage Reduction

Recent Smart Grid Team Activities

Contact the Smart Grid Team

Kevin Jones, PhD
Associate Director, Institute for Energy and the Environment
Senior Fellow for Energy Technology and Policy
Phone: 802-831-1054