The U.S. electricity system has begun a major transformation that will continue for the next 20+ years, and smart grid technologies are poised to be the lynchpin of the future system. Energetics Vice President Chris Kelley and Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Charles Chen explored the future of smart grid deployment in a joint presentation at the Grid Modernization Summit, held July 15-17, 2015. Drawing on their deep experience with the utility industry and the smart grid, they reviewed key issues and drivers in the grid’s future, including rising grid outages, federal investment in grid infrastructure upgrades, and the pressing need for major investments and new market frameworks to catalyze the transition to an advanced power grid. View presentation

Among the presentation’s key findings:

  • The number of power outages has doubled every 5 years.
  • While weather is the top cause of outages, vandalism contributes to 40% of outages per year and is a common source of long-duration outages.
  • Since 2009, $8 billion has been invested in the electrical grid through American Reinvestment and Recovery grants (including federal and non-federal contributions).
  • However, it is estimated that between $338 billion and $880 billion is needed to fully modernize the grid.
  • Frameworks and new rate structures are needed to fully leverage smart grid investments to transform the grid.

During the Summit, the duo was also part of an interactive panel discussion on modernized grid planning, and Chris supported a pre-conference workshop featuring a Southern California Edison case study on renewables and the grid.