More transmission equals the same dumb grid: Galvin

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Galvin Electricity Initiative praised President Barack Obama for prioritizing smart grid modernization and energy efficiency programs in his recent speech to Congress, but urged the administration to go further in its energy policy.

Building new transmission lines is only part of the equation and indicates support for the development of a national grid, which would ultimately stifle entrepreneurship and innovation, according to the Initiative. Contrary to the position taken by national grid advocates, renewable energy can be integrated into local power distribution grids that are closer to the end-user, are able to reinforce and strengthen the bulk power grid, and ultimately reduce the waste created when more power is transported over extended transmission lines.

The Initiative is calling on President Obama and Congress to support federal mandates that break apart the monopoly control state regulators and utilities have over local power distribution services and infrastructure. This will enable consumers and municipalities to engage private sector entrepreneurs in the development of local, smart, green microgrids nationwide.

These microgrids are necessary to strengthen the bulk power system and bring the nation’s electricity supply into the 21st century, providing a confident basis for a sustainable energy and economic future in the U.S.

“In his speech... President Obama harkened back to a time when consumers, small businesses and entrepreneurs were able to rebuild the economic foundation of our country,” said Kurt Yeager, executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative.

“Today, these same consumers and entrepreneurs have an important role to play in the revitalization of our power system and our economy. However, we need the federal government to ensure that opportunities for innovation exist. By directing stimulus funding for smart grid demonstration projects that focus on developing local mini-power systems, we will create an opportunity to harness entrepreneurial innovation in ways that build the economy and improve power distribution to the ultimate benefit of all citizens.”

Instead of new transmission lines, real economic opportunities in grid modernization can be most quickly and effectively achieved by installing smart grid technology that improves local energy distribution. Investing mostly in high-voltage transmission projects moves communities away from economic recovery and toward a more centralized power system that not only gives greater control to the federal government, at the ultimate expense of all citizens, but also squashes entrepreneurship and innovation.


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