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Developing a Smart Grid for Virginia

The smart grid is the umbrella term for the intelligent, communication-enabled devices and associated information systems that enable utilities to integrate a much more diverse mix of electricity generating, storage, and demand management technologies. This report is intended as a resource for policymakers and other stakeholders involved in Virginia’s transition to a smarter, cleaner electric grid. It explores how smart grid capabilities can enable integration of clean energy resources, energy storage, and demand management technologies and summarizes the literature on the costs and benefits of smart grid applications.  

The report also reviews Virginia’s recent efforts to develop a smarter grid, including grid modernization plans and petitions submitted by Dominion Energy’s subsidiary, Virginia Electric and Power Company. The final section outlines initiatives and guidelines to promote the development of a smart grid that will provide net benefits for ratepayers and help Virginia achieve its clean energy goals. 

As the transformation of Virginia’s electric power system accelerates, smart grid technologies will be needed to maintain grid reliability, efficiently integrate new technologies, and cost-effectively balance supply and demand. Uncertainty regarding smart grid costs and benefits can be managed by implementing a phased development process guided by stakeholder involvement and outcomes-based performance incentives. That process should be launched swiftly to ensure Virginia is prepared to efficiently manage a more complex and decentralized electric power system.  

The report’s four main recommendations are to:  

  • develop a shared vision of the services and benefits a smart grid should deliver  
  • implement a phased, adaptive strategy for smart grid development  
  • align utility compensation for smart grid investments with measurable outcomes
  • ensure public access to smart grid data and encourage innovation  

By thoughtfully designing the implementation schedule and the smart grid, Virginia can help ensure the energy transformation serves state and public interests. 

For the full report, download the file below.


Developing a Smart Grid for Virginia_full report