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States Drive Grid Evolution

DOE wants energy sector to step up customer engagement

A handful of forward-looking states will drive the evolution of America’s all-important power grid, says Patricia Hoffman, Department of Energy assistant secretary overseeing the office electricity delivery and energy reliability.

New York, California and Minnesota are among a handful of states that have embraced aggressive grid transformation programs, Hoffman said this week at a DOE regional workshop at Stanford University.

“They will drive the conversation,” she said. “The grid is going to become more important.”

DOE has held a series of regional workshops around the country in recent months to report on its grid modernization work. That effort is assisted by unprecedented collaboration among the federal research labs.

Overall, Hoffman said, “better data and more transparency are needed.” That will not only greatly advance energy initiatives but enable cities to become smarter in widely diverse services and offerings.

As for the electric grid, the government would like to spur greater communications among those responsible for its future.

“Utilities need to say where the challenges are so that innovators can come up with solutions,” she said.

So too must regional independent system operators engaged in operating and improving the electric grid, Hoffman said.

Utilities also must innovate new strategies to achieve customer engagement – particularly when it comes to younger consumers who want to improve and better interact with their world.

“That transition will occur whether we are ready for it or not,” Hoffman said.




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