SmartGrid background circleSmartGrid Circle

The Future of the Grid

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity and Energy Reliability (DOE) in partnership with the GridWise Alliance (GWA) facilitated the "Future of the Grid|Evolving to Meet America's Needs" initiative to develop an industry-driven vision of the future grid along with recommendations outlining an approach to achieving that vision. The Initiative involved multiple stakeholders and took one year to complete.

In that time, DOE and GWA hosted four regional workshops and a national summit with thought leaders from across the country that included utilities, regulators, state government officials, renewable energy providers, supplies and industry innovators. Discussions focused on necessary grid capabilities and functionality, the changing role of grid operators, the new technologies and financial models required to drive investment, and the policy and regulatory barriers to realizing the vision.


The United States electricity system is in the initial stages of a major transformation that will continue for the next 25 – 30 years. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (DOE OE) and the GridWise Alliance partnered to facilitate a series of regional workshops to create an industry-driven vision of how the grid must evolve to meet America's energy needs in the year 2030.

Information gathered from each of the regional workshops was synthesized and discussed at an executive-level summit in Washington, DC in early summer of 2014. The resulting report presented an industry driven view of a modernized electricity grid – that supports America's way of life – along with a series of recommendations that will help us to achieve this vision. The outcomes presented in the report will have a profound influence on future R & D agendas, regulatory constructs and investment in energy technologies as we work toward a more efficient, reliable, secure and sustainable electricity system.

Regional Workshops

Each of the four regional workshops included pre-read materials that outlined the major issues facing the industry to spur thoughtful conversation. Workshop agendas included:

Workshop Region Designations

  • A Visioning Exercise to spur creative thinking and identify capabilities and functions needed
  • Facilitated breakout sessions to discuss and develop a vision of the future grid given one of the scenarios below
    • Balancing Supply and Demand as Grid Complexity Grows
    • Involving Customers and Their Loads in Grid Operations
    • Higher Local Reliability through Multi-customer Microgrids
    • Transitioning Central Generation to Clean Energy Sources—Big Wind, Big Solar and Big Gas
    • Planning for Empowered Customers
  • Breakout discussions focused on defining grid operations, business models and investments, and regulatory and policy barriers and opportunities

A summary report was produced for each workshop.

Workshop Schedule