December 3, 2014: U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity and Energy Reliability (DOE) in partnership with the GridWise Alliance (GWA) facilitated the “Future of the Grid–Evolving to Meet America’s Needs” initiative to develop an industry-driven vision of the future grid along with recommendations outlining an approach to achieving that vision. The initiative involved multiple stakeholders and took one year to complete. In that time, DOE and GWA hosted four regional workshops and a national summit with thought leaders from across the country that included utilities, regulators, state government officials, renewable energy providers, supplies and industry innovators. Discussions focused on necessary grid capabilities and functionality, the changing role of grid operators, the new technologies and financial models required to drive investment, and the policy and regulatory barriers to realizing the vision.
INTRODUCTION: Electricity is the foundation for America’s economic success. Our digital economy, our national security, and our daily lives are highly dependent on reliable, safe, abundant, affordable, and secure electricity. Over the past several years, the electricity industry has experienced fundamental changes on a scale not witnessed since the creation of the electric system more than 100 years ago. New technological advances are providing new grid capabilities, prices for clean energy sources are becoming more affordable, our digital economy is even more dependent on electricity, and consumers are demanding fewer outages and faster response times when outages do occur.