The state of the North American smart grid


Craig Lewis,
Founder & Executive
Director, Clean
As we prepare to gather in San Francisco from October 24-26, 2011 for the Smart Energy International Summit, we will post excerpts of interviews from a few notable speakers to give you a taste of what’s on the agenda for this global industry event. Today, we have an excerpt from a recent interview with Craig Lewis, Founder and Executive Director of the California-based Clean Coalition.

Smart Energy International: How important is developing a nationwide smart grid to ensuring North America has the capability to reduce its energy usage and create a more sustainable urban environment? Are there alternatives to the smart grid for achieving the same widespread benefits?

Lewis: The reality is that some elements of smart grids are very important and they need to be deployed as soon as possible, such as local clean energy demand response to avoid turning on a dirty peaker plant, customer control and real time data to let consumers shift their consumption rates, and storage efficiency. The only other alternative is to use less energy.

Smart Energy International: In your opinion, what is the biggest road block to creating a more sustainable energy paradigm? Is the technology sophistication still not there? Is it regulation or finance? Consumer acceptance?  Or something else?

Lewis: The technology is ready and the developers are ready, but the roadblock is policy. We need clean local energy deployment, such as backyard wind, farm biomass, rooftop solar, etc. To change policy, three things must occur: one, procurement to ensure utilities will purchase excess energy, two, financing to ensure lenders will back local projects, and three, interconnection to the grid, controlled by entities like the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and FERC.

Craig Lewis will be speaking at the Smart Energy International summit in San Francisco October 24-26, 2011.

Attend Smart Energy International to see how utilities are creating a smarter grid. For more information and to register visit