In the US, the Obama Administration last week released the first installation of a Quadrennial Energy Review, which includes initiatives to promote grid modernization.
The Quadrennial Energy Review, which aims to "modernize the Nation's energy infrastructure to promote economic competitiveness", included a comprehensive grid modernization proposal.
The White House confirmed that as part of the review, the Department of Energy (DoE) has put a request in the 2016 budget for US$3.5 billion over the next 10 years for investment in smart grid foundational technology development, enhanced security capabilities, and greater institutional support and stakeholder engagement.
Also outlined in document was improving grid communication through standards and interoperability.
In conjunction with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other Federal agencies, the report states: "The DOE should work with industry, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, state officials, and other interested parties to identify additional efforts the Federal Government can take to better promote open standards that enhance connectivity and interoperability on the electric grid."
Working with energy providers
In the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, the Quadrennial Energy Review makes provision for the creation of a Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience.
The initiative will see the DoE meet with the heads of 17 core energy providers at the end of April 2015 including Con Edison, Exelon, National Grid and San Diego Gas and Electric.
And when it comes to funding rural electric infrastructure, the US Department of Agriculture has earmarked US$72 million to fund six new rural projects including solar.
The loans will be used for transmission line improvements, including smart grid projects, according to a statement from the White House last week.
Reviewing US energy infrastructure
In June 2013, President Obama initiated a quadrennial cycle of energy reviews to provide a multiyear roadmap for US energy policy.
The President also announced the formation of a White House Task Force - co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and comprising 22 Federal agencies and offices with equities in energy - to develop the review.
The last national energy policy report was published nearly 14 years ago, and the US energy system has changed very significantly over that period, said the White House.
A statement said: "In the development of the Quadrennial Energy Review, DoE convened a broad range of stakeholders across the Nation, including technical workshops, 13 formal public stakeholder meetings, and a special series of roundtables on methane emissions from TS&D infrastructure.
"As directed by the President, the review is envisioned as a focused, actionable document designed to provide policymakers, industry, investors, and other stakeholders with unbiased data and analysis on energy challenges, needs, requirements, and barriers that will inform a range of policy options, including legislation."
Each installment of the energy review will analyze and make recommendations for a key component of the energy value chain.