Considering all the potential benefits of the Smart Grid, what policies are needed to help it succeed? That’s the question addressed in A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future, a new report developed by a special White House subcommittee. 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
  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. The report describes how the pillars will assist in promoting benefits of the smart grid:

  1. Scale what works to enable cost-effective smart grid investments
  2. Unlock the innovation potential in the electricity sector with a continued focus on open standards
  3. Empower consumers with education, access to their own energy usage information in   consumer- and computer-friendly formats, and improved privacy safeguards and consumer protections
  4. Continue to secure the grid against natural or other disasters.

The White House believes advancement of the four pillars plays an essential role in helping the United States to lead the world in the 21st century economy.