Full Title: Capitalizing on the Evolving Power Sector: Policies for a Modern and Reliable U.S. Electric Grid
Author(s): Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy & Infrastructure Program
Publisher(s): Bipartisan Policy Center
Publication Date: 2/2013



The U.S. electric power sector faces a significant transition  over the next decade, with implications for the cost, reliability,  and environmental impacts of the electricity supply.  Specifically, economic trends and state and federal energy  and environmental policies will continue to increase the  share of natural gas and renewable energy in the generation  mix. This ongoing shift provides an important opportunity to  consider policies and institutional structures that help the  electric grid adapt to changes in market conditions, policy,  and technology in ways that enhance system reliability and  maintain affordability. Low natural gas prices in the near- to  medium-term will be a key driver of changes in the sector and  further underscore this opportunity. As the fuel portion of the  cost of electricity declines for many customers, there is a strong  argument for an increased focus on the investment necessary  to build a modernized grid that will deliver electricity that is both  affordable and reliable.

This report provides findings and recommendations from the  Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Electric Grid Initiative, a year-  long effort to develop policy recommendations that enhance  the efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electric grid. BPC  convened a diverse and bipartisan task force of stakeholders  from energy companies, public utility commissions (PUCs),  regional transmission organizations (RTOs), academia, and  non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The task force  developed recommendations in four broad policy areas: (1)  encouraging efficient transmission and distribution investment,  (2) advancing planning and operational coordination across  jurisdictions, (3) enabling a more flexible and resilient system,  and (4) monitoring and enhancing operational reliability.