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: February 1, 2013
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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.