The Principles of Grid Neutrality

October 9, 2015
Jenny Hu, Shayle Kann, James Tong & Jon Wellinghoff

Just as net neutrality seeks to maintain a fair and open internet, the concept of grid neutrality emphasizes a fair and open electricity network. Like the internet, the modern electricity grid is the backbone upon which a generation of technologies, services and economies will be built. In order to catalyze this transition and foster innovation, it is paramount that we as a nation provide for, as well as safeguard, the grid’s neutrality.

Tenet I: Empower the consumer while maintaining universal access to safe, reliable electricity at reasonable cost. Maximize consumers’ ability to achieve their individual energy needs and the needs of the grid without compromising the universal right of all consumers to access a safe, reliable energy service at reasonable cost. We call this “The Consumer Empowerment Principle.”

Tenet II: Demarcate and protect the “commons.” Establish clear operational and jurisdictional boundaries for public and private interests. We call this “The Commons Principle.”

Tenet III: Align risks and rewards across the industry. Allocate financial risks to stakeholders who are most willing and able to assume them. Safeguard the public interest by containing the risks undertaken by private parties to those participants. We call this “The Risk/Reward Principle.”

Tenet IV: Create a transparent, level playing field. Promote and protect open standards, data access and transparency to encourage sustainable innovation on the grid. Prevent any single party -- public or private -- from abusing its influence. We call this “The Transparency Principle.”

Tenet V: Foster open access to the grid. Allow all parties who meet system-wide standards the opportunity to add value to the grid. Apply all standards evenly and prevent any non-merit-based discrimination. We call this “The Open Access Principle.”

If net neutrality is the cornerstone of today’s open, dynamic internet, grid neutrality is the core enabler of a truly intelligent, scalable and efficient grid. We urge stakeholders to streamline decision-making in ongoing and future grid-design debates by benchmarking against the tenets of grid neutrality.

Read the full article at [GreenTech Media]