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Building a Clean Energy Pipeline

The Four Components of Success

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Report: Wired for Progress: Building a National Clean-Energy Smart Grid

Background: Energy grid 101

Large-scale renewable generation

windmill

Why it’s smart:

Bringing wind, solar and geothermal resources on line on a large scale creates significant new sources of clean, renewable domestic energy, reducing global warming and making it cheaper and easier to manage greenhouse gas emissions across our entire energy system.

How to implement:

Extend incentives for production and investment in renewable energy plants to make it easier to finance new projects.

Set standards for renewable electricity production to provide certainty to the market for clean energy.

Invest in renewable energy manufacturing and construction work to create new, good paying jobs.

High-voltage transmission grid

power lines

Why it’s smart:

A smart nationwide transmission system will overcome barriers in the current system and include new renewable energy feeder lines to link up distant resources to a high-voltage “backbone” grid.

How to implement:

Plan our grid development to existing resources and create new systems to get many states and entire regions working together to implement a single national electricity system.

Coordinate multi-state planning backed by stronger federal authority to build the system that states design together quickly, efficiently and transparently.

Share the cost of these investments broadly among ratepayers and taxpayers nationwide.

Provide certainty of cost recovery to bring new private investment into the building of these lines.

Regional smart-grid distribution

energy to houses

Why it’s smart:

A smart grid connects digital IT to the management of the electricity grid, creating new opportunities for innovation, businesses, and the smart use of resources. Smart meters on homes create incentives for conservation and allow for real-time pricing that rewards moving demand away from peak hours.

How to implement:

Public investment to ensure ratepayers in a single region do not carry the full cost of building out the smart grid will help states and regions to get projects off the ground.

Set standards for building the backbone of infrastructure but leave flexibility for innovation and experimentation by a host of businesses and new technologies.

Encourage innovation through existing pilot projects, expand the work of regional demonstration projects, collect and share information openly, and then stitch these efforts into a national system.

Home efficiency and generation

energy from car

Why it’s smart:

Each building can generate its own energy, manage its electricity demand more efficiently, and empower consumers and businesses to contribute to our national clean energy supply.

How to implement:

Set standards for stronger home energy effi ciency, efficient appliances and power demand management.

Implement state and federal policies for net metering, real-time pricing, and energy building codes, delinking energy production from the profi ts that utilities make and protecting consumers.

Offer new financing tools to support weatherization and energy efficiency retrofits.

Invest in workforce training programs to meet the growing demand for energy services.

Download this resource (pdf)

Report: Wired for Progress: Building a National Clean-Energy Smart Grid

Background: Energy grid 101

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi (immigration, race and ethnicity)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org