Looking at the forecasts and trends, the prospects for a clean energy future and a more distributed, resilient and low-carbon electricity grid appear promising. However, such a future will only be realized if the rules and policies remain strong and favorable today and over the long-term to encourage consumer investments. Indeed, the policies and regulations governing the electricity distribution systems are the key to transitioning to a cleaner, consumer-driven, resilient, and low-carbon electricity grid capable of meeting the myriad challenges of the 21st century.
Decisions made today by state utility commissions and regulatory players will have a direct impact on consumer and shareholder investments and clean energy economics for decades to come. The ability to simply and affordably integrate and interconnect to the grid ever-higher penetrations of distributed energy resources remains a fundamental, yet often overlooked, part of the discussion. How utilities plan for, pay for, and operate the distribution grid, and whether and how they accommodate the interconnection of DERs, are central questions that need to be addressed.
As states, regulators, consumers, and utilities seek to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology advancements and improving cost-effectiveness of solar and other distributed energy resources, while also addressing mounting societal and environmental pressures, the grid itself must be given more attention.
Transitioning to a more distributed electricity system requires that extant policies and regulations shift from a largely reactive framework to a more proactive approach. As the new frontiers of clean energy regulatory policies and best practices beckon, IREC continues to bring independent national leadership and a valued perspective on regulatory policies needed to catalyze the next wave of clean energy market improvements, innovations, and progress.