Tip Sheets

FERC grid rules key for clean energy, cybersecurity and wildfire prevention

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is expected to announce rules for nationwide transmission grid reform next week, including how states will share the costs of upgrades.

Rick Geddes

Professor, Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

Rick Geddes, director of the Cornell University Program in Infrastructure Policy, says grid upgrades are essential, not only for the transition to cleaner energy, but also to prevent future power outages, cyber-attacks and even wildfires.

Geddes says:

“The electrical grid in the United States is old. Much of the U.S. electric grid was built in the 1960s and 1970s. Although the grid system has been upgraded over time with emerging technologies, it is inadequate to meet the demands of renewable energy sources and increased load due to transportation electrification and other developments.

“An inadequate grid can have major adverse effects on communities. Those include power outages, greater vulnerability to cyber-attacks and community emergencies caused by faulty grid infrastructure such as wildfires.

“Much more investment in the grid is needed, which is costly. FERC has spent years working on a nationwide transmission grid reform. Its decision will have major implications for the transition to cleaner energy.

“The key issue is how the cost of that grid upgrade will be shared. Cost-sharing creates a conflict between states that have ‘green’ policies or encourage more renewable power versus those that don’t.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.