Federal Communications Commission
The FCC is an independent United States government agency that oversees communications by wire or radio, including wired and wireless phone services, television, radio, satellite, and cable.
SMART GRID INITIATIVES
The FCC has an important but limited role in the Smart Grid. The Commission’s broadest jurisdiction with respect to the Smart Grid is over non-federal government spectrum, spectrum users, and commercial carriers. In March 2010, the FCC released its Congressionally-mandated National Broadband Plan. The plan addresses how broadband investment will help America with its goals of reducing dependence on foreign oil and increasing energy efficiency. Encouraging renewable power, grid storage and vehicle electrification are important steps to improve American energy independence and energy efficiency; to enable these technologies at scale, the country will need to modernize the electric grid with broadband and advanced communications.
In Chapter 2, the plan sets forth a long-term goal that every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.
Chapter 12 outlines two key recommendations with respect to the Smart Grid:
1) Unleash energy innovation in homes and buildings by making energy data readily accessible to consumers.
For too long the innovation of computing and communications has not been applied to energy management and efficiency. Families and businesses know almost nothing about their electricity consumption and related costs until they receive their utility bill. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that when people get feedback on their electricity usage, they make simple changes that save energy. Real-time information can also inform automated thermostats and appliances, enabling consumers to save energy and money automatically, while helping the country avoid new expensive power plants. To unleash innovation in smart homes and buildings, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption. With strong cybersecurity and privacy protections, consumers and their authorized third parties should be able to get access to real-time usage information from smart meters and historical billing information over the Internet. National security and prosperity demands the country transition to a future where energy is clean, affordable, and reliable. We can get there if we unleash American entrepreneurship, innovation, and ingenuity by providing consumers with access to their energy data.
2) Modernize the electric grid with broadband, making it more reliable and efficient.
Our aging electrical grid is a patchwork of out-dated infrastructure. It's not just a system that delivers energy inefficiently -- the country’s electric grid is increasingly vulnerable to failure and attack. To ensure American energy independence and efficiency, broadband and other advanced communications technologies must be used to modernize the grid. Paired with high-tech tools, like dynamic management software and remote sensors, broadband will be crucial to advancing innovations in renewable power, grid storage, and vehicle electrification. There are over 3,000 electric utilities across the country, with different topographies, environments, and regulatory regimes. The vision of a "Smart Grid" will not just use one type of communications network -- which is exactly why leveraging the flexibility and scope of broadband technologies makes sense.