Transforming DR and smart-grid policies into reality.
George E. Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior counsel in the energy practice at Dickstein Shapiro LLP. This article reflects his views and not necessarily those of Dickstein Shapiro or clients of the firm.
Policies promoting energy conservation and demand-side management have been around for decades with meager levels of customer participation, so it’s legitimate to ask: Why does it matter that Congress has declared demand-response and smart-grid development to be the policy of the United States?1 In fact, the combined forces of federal and state policy initiatives and changing public attitudes toward energy and the environment are about to fundamentally change how Americans deal with electricity.
Two main factors are responsible: First, congressional action—through the Energy Policy Actof 2005 (EPAct), the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)—not only required the states to consider implementation of demand response (DR) and smart-grid capabilities, but placed the full weight of federal policymaking and financial power behind that effort. Congress required the federal government to set standards and create an institutional framework for DR and the smart grid. It has provided billions of dollars for federal technical assistance and stimulus program matching funds to enable, guide, and support the states and utilities in making the investments and enacting the rules and processes necessary for every electricity customer to become an active participant in the nation’s electrical grid.