Designed for the supply and demand of the 19th and 20th centuries, the current electric grid requires substantial investment to continue to provide reliable power for a growing, increasingly electricity-dependent population. Interest in strengthening America’s grid has increased attention to Distributed Power Systems (DPS), a combination of distributed generation sources and grid storage. DPS technologies include rooftop solar installations, “microwind” turbines, electrochemical fuel-cell systems, and combined heat and power applications. By using localized sources of generation, electricity consumers in the commercial and residential sectors have an opportunity to bypass the centralized system of generation and dispatch to meet their own electricity needs and play a role in stabilizing and supporting the grid. DPS are also a method for cleaner energy sources to provide a larger share of the electricity mix. DPS applications also have potential value to the U.S. military as it seeks to increase the efficiency of its operations both at home and in the battle theater.
On October 31, the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings and the Hoover Institution’s Energy Task Force hosted experts from the public and private sectors for a series of discussions to address the potential of Distributed Power Systems in the United States. Following introductory remarks by Brookings President Strobe Talbott and Hoover Institution Distinguished Fellow George Shultz, panelists assessed the environmental, national security, and economic strengths and weaknesses of DPS and examine the policies that will enable DPS in a feasible and cost-effective manner.
After each panel, participants took audience questions.
Principal, The Brattle Group
Senior Vice President, Sustainability, Policy, and Strategy
Executive Vice President, External Affairs
Former Brookings Expert
Strategist and Senior Fellow - New America
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs
Senior Manager, Boeing Energy
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Research and Development, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
Energy Portfolio Manager
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Brookings Senior Fellow and former U.S. State Department Special Envoy on Climate Todd Stern spoke at the US Climate Action Center, at the COP 24 UN climate negotiations, on the future of the Paris Agreement in Katowice, Poland on December 10, 2018.
[On the U.S. negotiating team at the COP 24 climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland] They work seriously, effectively and knowledgeably. There is only this technical negotiating team, not a political one.
[On the role of the United States in the U.N. climate negotiations at COP 24 in Katowice, Poland] You cannot underestimate the negative impact of the U.S. being on the sidelines. With Obama, the U.S. had credibility. We brought China along. We moved a lot of countries out of their comfort zones. That’s all missing now.