Center for American Progress

NEW REPORT: Wired for Progress: Building a National Clean-Energy Smart Grid
Press Release

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

February 23, 2009

By Bracken Hendricks

Read the full report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Background: Energy grid 101

WASHINGTON, DC—Today the Center for American Progress released a new report outlining how we can rebuild our electricity infrastructure—namely, building an integrated clean pipeline—to meet today’s energy challenges.

In his report, CAP Senior Fellow Bracken Hendricks describes why it is so important today to reinvigorate our economy by building new generation, transmission, and distribution systems for efficient use of low-carbon electricity. The transformation of our increasingly outmoded electricity infrastructure around the platforms of efficiency, security, reliability, and reduced carbon emissions will boost U.S. innovation and job creation in coming decades. Building a national clean-energy smart grid will create new markets, foster new businesses and business models, put people back to work in construction and manufacturing, and lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth.

The report also outlines a plan to develop such a secure, reliable, interoperable, national, and clean electricity grid to power America’s coming clean energy economy. Our particular policy recommendations focus on the principle bottle necks for building grid projects. These include:

  • A framework for collaborative multi-state planning to match new grid investments to our resource base
  • A stronger proposal for siting new transmission projects tied to this plan, giving greater power to the federal government but requiring strong state participation
  • Broad-based cost allocation to ensure that no single region must bear the cost of a national undertaking
  • Smart-grid investments and standards to deploy new information technology, controls, and advanced metering infrastructure on the transmission and distribution grid

In addition, major crosscutting issues affecting each of these areas include the need to address workforce development and training needs to build and maintain the grid, enhancing the security and reliability of the grid through these investments, and strategies to promote financing of projects, both public and private, to ensure that these grid enhancements are built efficiently and in a timely manner.

Read the full report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Infographic: Building a Clean Energy Pipeline: The Four Components for Success

Maps: How the grid is managed | Power lines where renewable energy isn’t | The potential of renewable wind and solar power | New high-voltage transmission lines