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Federal Agencies Have Vast Smart Grid Knowledge, But Politics Impedes Progress
Federal agencies like the Department of Energy (DOE) have a vast breadth of research on smart grid technologies, but politics hinders implementation.
What has the federal government done so far to promote smart grid implementation? What more should it do?
Don Schjeldahl, Founder, Don Schjeldahl Group
Question Originally Asked Here:
Editors Picks:
The federal government is loaded with smart people who understand the challenges and opportunities of a modern electric power grid. The Department of Energy (DOE) in particular has terrific resources related to how and where power is produced, distributed, and used (see www.eia.doe.gov), information critical for developing sound energy policy. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory leads in cutting-edge research on many energy topics, including the interface of renewable energy systems with the smart grid. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is well along the path for establishing much needed industry standards.

Unfortunately, energy markets are complex and highly political, and the federal government is well behind the curve when it comes to setting energy policy. Consequently, the efficient deployment of smart grid and development of new products and markets are being hindered in the United States, a problem the Chinese don’t share. There is legislation before Congress that could address this shortcoming, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009. The act is omnibus legislation that addresses top-to-bottom electric power production, electric transmission and distribution, and energy use, including energy efficiency. But don’t hold your breath that the ACT will see the President’s desk anytime soon.
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