Dialogue with utilities
Rocky Mountain Institute
The cause of the 2003 failure of the Eastern power grid is the centralized design of the grid itself, and illustrates the vulnerability of our power system to accident or attack. Conventional wisdom is to solve the problem by spending $50-$100 billion to make the system larger, with new transmission lines and power plants. While some improvements to existing lines may be needed, making the centralized grid-based system larger does not address the underlying flaw.
Your gift will help RMI convince utilities of its view that investments in energy efficiency, combined with a distributed power system that places smaller, modular electrical resources across the grid close to the loads they serve, will lower electrical bills, lower emissions, and provide secure, reliable power that would be impossible to disrupt by design or accident. While the policy debates will occur in Washington, the solutions will be defined at the state level in how each utility develops and plans it grid and resource mix. Therefore, RMI intends to focus its efforts on directly demonstrating the value of the distributed approach with utilities.