Grid Modernization
As introduced in a previous email segment, our energy grid has traditionally consisted of energy being transported unidirectionally in three major stages: the generation of energy at large scale production facilities, the long distance movement of energy over high voltage transmission lines, and the short distance movement of energy over low voltage distribution lines. Besides this model of energy production and transportation becoming increasingly outdated with more Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) coming onto the grid, a 2015 Department of Energy report found that 70% of transmission lines were 25 years or older.2 As it becomes more apparent day by day, our energy system's design and equipment both need a refresh.

The influx of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into our energy landscape is one of the most notable changes that our grid has had to respond to. DERs are small scale energy resources that are typically found close to where their produced energy will be consumed, largely "behind the meter" (connected directly to the energy user). A solar system installed on the rooftop of a home is an example of a DER. DERs add complexity to our existing grid through Net Metering programs in which utilities buy the excess energy produced by DER systems to augment the supply on the grid for other customers. As shown in the graphic above, this arrangement requires infrastructure that can support a bidirectional flow of energy: the traditional flow of energy from the grid to the DER owner's meter, and the novel flow of energy from behind the meter back to the grid.3