2011-05 Smart Grid Strategy


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All around the U.S. and in many foreign countries, utility companies are in various stages of readiness and eagerness both to invest in and deploy smart grid facilities. In growing numbers, they are asking state public utility commissions to approve smart grid pilot projects and even full-blown smart grid implementation plans. Drawing on experience from several states that have already embarked on smart grid procedures, this paper explores smart grid‘s status today and describes a systematic approach by which commissions can address utility smart grid applications.
The paper, in Part I, identifies several major sources of complexity that affect smart grid decisionmaking. Part II describes the seven major missions that smart grid‘s supporters advance. Part III describes the nine major smart grid components. The discussions of each mission and each component, in Parts II and III, include three topics: (1) examples, (2) uncertainties and concerns, and (3) advice to commissions. The examples and reviews of uncertainties and concerns are drawn from early experiences in several states and from the smart grid literature. Two appendixes include brief summaries of commission orders from three states where utilities have already filed smart grid applications (Hawaii, Maryland, and Oklahoma) and three states where commission proceedings are underway to establish utility smart grid filing standards (California, Colorado, and Illinois). Part IV provides guidance for commission positioning and procedures for steering smart grid deployment to best serve the public interest.

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