The Green Smart Grid Initiative
Developing a Smart Grid to Help Address Climate Change
Few issues are getting more attention within the energy industry and among policymakers these days than the smart grid and climate change. Yet most do not see these two areas as being connected. More precisely, the smart grid – and smart grid practices like demand response – is not being viewed as having a role in the attainment of climate change goals.
Demand response, the heart of the smart grid, could account for
a fifth of U.S. electricity.
FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, cited by Reuters, “Smart Grid
Good for Big Solar, Wind: US Regulator,” October 2009 view
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The Green Smart Grid Initiative (GSGI) is an effort to demonstrate that the smart grid indeed can be a major positive force in addressing climate change. Among the issues it seeks to help parties gain an understanding of are the following:
Smart Grid and Renewable Energy
There is widespread consensus that increasing the use of renewable energy is a key component of any strategy and plan for addressing climate change.
Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency Another consensus building block in plans to address climate change is energy efficiency. Most energy efficiency efforts are focused on replacement of devices and equipment with more efficient items, or focused on energy efficient design and labeling of products and buildings. »»»
An Essential Role
Because of its impact on renewable energy and energy efficiency, a smarter grid is a greener grid, and the Green Smart Grid not only has a role to play in addressing climate change, but is likely essential in allowing climate change goals to be reached.
If the electrical grid were 5% more efficient it could displace the equivalent of 42 coal-fired power
Jon Wellinghoff, Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), testimony before the
Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, US House of Representatives, May 2007
Smart Grid technologies can help families save 10% on their power bills.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, "Pacific Northwest GridWise Testbed Demonstration Projects," October 2007
Cutting demand by a few minutes or seconds also could let the U.S. grid cheaply incorporate
renewable sources like wind and solar that otherwise would need backup from plants that stayed
idle most of the time.
FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, cited by Reuters, "Smart Grid Good for Big Solar, Wind: US Regulator"
"Integrating wind or solar power into the grid at scale - at levels higher than 20% - will require
advanced energy management techniques and approaches at the grid operator level. The Smart
Gridís ability to dynamically manage all sources of power on the grid means that more distributed
generation can be integrated within it."
U.S. Department of Energy, "The Smart Grid: An Introduction," 2008
The Smart Grid helps reduce emissions by managing electricity peak load. CO2 emissions on
peak can be 230% higher than off peak.
San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company, "Proposed Energy Efficiency Risk-
Reward Incentive Mechanism and E M&V Activities" (comments filed with the Public Utilities Commission
of California, Docket R0901019), May 2009