John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, explained, “A 21st century grid is essential to America’s ability to lead the world in clean energy and win the future. By unlocking the potential of innovation in the electric grid, we are allowing consumers and businesses to use energy more efficiently even as we help utilities provide cleaner energy and more reliable service.”
The White House also released the Plan for a 21st Century Electric Grid, developed by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The plan is designed to document the results of 141 smart grid technology projects from early adopter states like California and Texas, which were funded by the Recovery Act and use the findings as case studies to spur support from utilities, state regulators, and consumers in states that have not adopted smart grid programs.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted, “America cannot build a 21st century economy with a 20th century electricity system. By working with states, industry leaders, and the private sector, we can build a clean, smart, national electricity system that will create jobs, reduce energy use, and expand renewable energy production.
In addition to the case studies, other initiatives were introduced. Power companies in Texas and California along with several smart meter manufacturers have formed a nonprofit organization called Grid 21, which will sponsor contests to award consumers who conserve the most electricity through smart grid devices. Another contest will reward developers of smart grid applications for consumers.
Dallas-based Oncor, CenterPoint Energy in Houston, and San Diego Gas & Electric will lead the Biggest Energy Saver Campaign. Smart grid systems manufacturers Itron and Landis+Gyr are also founders of the initiative and will be joined by IBM.
The report also outlined four goals the Administration believes are necessary so that all Americans can benefit from investments in the Nation’s electric infrastructure. They are: better alignment of economic incentives to boost development and deployment of smart-grid technologies; a greater focus on standards and interoperability to enable greater innovation; empowerment of consumers with enhanced information to save energy, ensure privacy, and shrink bills; and improved grid security and resilience.
A detailed fact sheet and the NSTC report are available at www.whitehouse.gov/ostp