America’s electric grid, which carries power from the source to the user, is changing in dramatic ways. For its first 125 years, the grid was designed around large fossil fuel and nuclear power plants located near, and built to provide power for, major cities. Now, new clean energy resources are coming online, including wind power from remote regions and solar energy from panels installed atop homes and businesses.
NRDC is helping ensure the nation’s grid incorporates these low-carbon resources so that clean, reliable energy can be delivered across the economy and flow in different directions from different sources.
Nearly all policies affecting clean electricity production and use—from efficiency incentives to low-carbon standards to environmental protection laws—impact the grid. And the group that governs a large part of it, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, can either facilitate or obstruct these clean energy policies.
That’s why NRDC launched the Sustainable FERC project with several other environmental and energy groups. By focusing on FERC, we can begin to create smart changes that will lead to a cleaner, more efficient grid—and a more climate-friendly energy system nationwide. We supplement that work by partnering with regional transmission organizations, state governments, and individual utility companies.
We push for the most efficient use of existing transmission lines, and when new lines are necessary, we make sure they won’t impact pristine landscapes or imperiled wildlife. We call for grid policies that reflect and manage renewable energy’s unique characteristics, such as fluctuations due to weather and time of day. We promote rate structures that reward customers for charging electric vehicles when electricity demand is low. And we encourage FERC to require grid planners and utilities to consider efficiency measures that encourage people to use less energy in the first place.