A Smarter, Greener Grid

Forging Environmental Progress through Smart Energy Policies and Technologies

by Kevin B. Jones and David Zoppo


CO2 emissions from the electric power sector comprise one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the U.S. economy.

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May 2014


Pages 361
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/Environment

The pressing need for a smarter and greener grid is obvious, but how this goal should be achieved is much less clear. This book clearly defines the environmental promise of the smart grid and describes the policies necessary for fully achieving the environmental benefits of the digital energy revolution.

The United States' electrical grid is an antique. It was built to serve a 20th-century economy and designed in an era when the negative environmental impacts of electricity production were poorly understood. It must be upgraded and modernized. The proposed solution is a "smart grid"—a network of new digital technologies, equipment, and controls that can respond quickly to the public's changing energy needs by facilitating two-way communication between the utility and consumers. This book explains the environmental benefit of a smart grid, examines case studies of existing smart grids, and identifies the legal and regulatory policy hurdles that must be overcome to fully realize the smart grid's benefits.

Based on six diverse organizations' experience as "early adopters" in the digital energy revolution, the authors explore how a smart electric grid offers real promise for supercharging energy efficiency, democratizing demand response, electrifying transportation, preparing for ubiquitous distributed clean energy technologies, and automating the distribution system. Against the backdrop of climate change and continuing economic uncertainty, setting a path for environmental improvement and upgrading our electric grid with new digital technologies and associated smart policies is more critical than ever before.


  • Deciphers the muddled "information" from industry leaders and policymakers about 21st-century energy technology, enabling readers to understand how a smart grid can be a cost-effective tool to benefit the climate
  • Provides detailed information from case studies of six early smart grid leaders to showcase the strengths and weaknesses of these programs
  • Identifies the legal and regulatory challenges that could prevent the successful implementation of a smart electric grid, making it clear that the issues are not purely technological
  • Serves ideally as a primary text for courses on smart grid technology and policy as well as a resource for graduate-level research for energy policy or climate change policy courses
Author Info

Kevin B. Jones, PhD, is deputy director and senior fellow for energy technology and policy at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, where he also leads the Smart Grid Project. Jones previously served as director of power market policy with the Long Island Power Authority, associate director with Navigant Consulting, and director of energy policy for the city of New York. He received his doctorate from the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), a master's degree in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont.

David Zoppo, JD, is a junior associate with Foley & Lardner, LLP in Madison, WI, where he practices in the areas of environmental law and energy regulation. He was a research associate at Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment between 2011 and 2013. In 2012, he worked as a legal extern for the Hon. Judge Richard Clifton, who sits on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Zoppo received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a juris doctor degree summa cum laude from Vermont Law School.



"Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, A Smarter, Greener Grid: Forging Environmental Progress through Smart Energy Policies and Technologies is the new addition to the outstanding Energy Resources, Technology, and Policy series from Praeger Publishers. . . . [It] an essential, core addition to professional, corporate, governmental, and academic library Energy & Environmental reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists."—Midwest Book Review

"Overall, this book provides a smart and thorough overview of a critical infrastructure under development. . . . In this text,the authors provide an analysis and examples of the co-evolutionof the technical and social components of the electricity system and the text will be useful for both practitioners and academics. By situating the development of smart grid technologies in the context of major legal and policy challenges, the authors challenge the reader to examine the interplay between societal goals, technology development, and the real challenges of implementation."—Energy Research & Social Science


A Smarter, Greener Grid describes and examines policies and technologies that will enable distributed resources—including efficiency, demand response, distributed generation, and electric vehicles—to transform our energy future. This book offers a realistic path to that future and real progress toward mitigating the impacts of climate change.”—Jon Wellinghoff, Partner, Stoel Rives LLC and Former Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

"This book does an excellent job of clarifying exactly how a smarter grid reduces carbon emissions and creates a sustainable energy supply. Furthermore, the book explains how a smarter grid empowers consumers to put their values into action, whether to save money or reduce their carbon footprint. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about sustainability and the planet’s energy future."—Patty Durand, President and Executive Director, Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative

"The success of the "smarter grid" depends on technology, industry standards, and policy development. The application of digital technology, integrated into interoperable solutions that address the business needs of electric utilities, is not enough. The strongest driver for investment is policy, particularly with respect to the environment. A Smarter, Greener Grid addresses all key drivers very effectively, particularly the nexus of digital technology with the environment."—John D. McDonald, P.E., Director, Technical Strategy & Policy Development/GE Energy Management–Digital Energy

Series Description

Energy Resources, Technology, and Policy

Energy and the environment are two of the most critical topics of the 21st century. This series takes a global approach to presenting the ideas of energy experts and environmental supporters, giving readers the perspective to understand how the realities of energy production, new technology, policymaking, and user behavior all play critical roles in determining the best plan of action to overcome the global energy crisis.

Energy Resources, Technology, and Policy offers global perspectives on contemporary energy sources, the related technologies, and international policy responses to issues regarding energy. The titles in this series explore topics in three categories: energy reserves, fuels, resources, and reserve-to-production ratios; technologies, innovation, and current research and development; and policymaking, behavioral change, and the interactions between society and the energy sector.

Beyond providing detailed information about the progress that has been made in developing safe, renewable forms of energy, this series portrays the fragile balance between energy development and environmental protection as it illustrates how energy developers and environmental advocates are moving towards reaching sustainable resolutions. These books will serve a broad audience that includes educated lay readers, professionals, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty in fields such as engineering, public affairs, global studies, ecology, geography, environmental studies, and marine science.


  • Supplying original perspectives from experts around the world, the series offers unbiased information on sensitive issues that often receive a one-sided approach in mass media
  • Books in the series supply the in-depth study and evaluation these complex, current topics deserve, giving readers a comprehension about the subject far beyond what is possible from media reportage
  • Each title serves to enrich readers' understanding of the benefits as well as the inherent dangers and costs of energy production against the backdrop of environmental factors and concerns
Look Inside

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