Sep 11

Past Event

Beyond the Smart Grid: Challenges in the Electricity Markets

Event Materials



  • Wholesale Electricity Markets

    Wellinghoff says wholesale electricity markets are important to the viability of renewable energy sources. He noted that they also help improve the smart grid system.

  • The Need for Renewable Energy

    Wellinghoff says three imperatives - economic stability, national security and carbon reduction - point to the need for renewable energy sources to help the nation meet these objectives.


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President Barack Obama has made it clear that transforming the U.S. economy from a fossil fuels-driven to a "green" economy based on domestic, renewable energy sources is a top priority for his administration. The electricity grid is an essential part of this modernization process. The "smart grid" has received considerable attention as well as substantial financing in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. However, electricity transmission and distribution systems remain highly fragmented and regionalized, supported by various owners, regulators, and operators. Major challenges exist around creating the appropriate governance mechanisms to develop our electricity infrastructure.

On September 11, the Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative and Metropolitan Policy Program hosted a discussion on the challenges of modernizing the electricity grid. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff delivered a keynote address on the federal perspective. Following the chairman’s remarks, Charles Ebinger, senior fellow and director of the Energy Security Initiative, moderated a panel discussion on the governance issues in the electric transmission sector. Lynne Kiesling, senior lecturer at Northwestern University, moderated a panel discussion on the technological implementation and regulatory reforms necessary for the development of a national smart grid.

After each panel, participants took audience questions.

Event Agenda

  • Welcoming Remarks and Introduction

    • Energy Security Initiative, " itemprop="jobTitle" /> Moderator: <a href="">Charles Ebinger</a>

      Senior Fellow and Director, Energy Security Initiative

  • Keynote Address

    • Jon Wellinghoff

      Chairman, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

  • Panel 1: The Governance of National Transmission Lines

    • Energy Security Initiative, " itemprop="jobTitle" /> Moderator: <a href="">Charles Ebinger</a>

      Senior Fellow and Director, Energy Security Initiative

    • Peter Huber

      Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

    • Bill Gaines

      Chief Executive Officer and Director of Utilities, Tacoma Power

    • Larry Mansueti

      Director, State and Regional Assistance, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy

    • Charles Gray

      Executive Director, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

  • Panel 2: Policy Reforms of the Electricity Distribution System

    • Moderator: Lynne Kiesling

      Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, Northwestern University

    • Jeffrey Ross

      Executive Vice President, GridPoint

    • Cheryl Hindes

      Director, Customer Load and Settlement, Baltimore Gas and Electric

    • Lisa V. Wood

      Executive Director, Institute for Electric Efficiency, The Edison Foundation

    • Richard Morgan

      Commissioner, District of Columbia Public Utilities Commission

  • Closing Remarks


September 11, 2009

8:45 AM - 1:00 PM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Saul/Zilkha Rooms

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW


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Brookings Office of Communications

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