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How

We're working hard to modernize DC's grid — with an actionable, concrete strategy.

 

modernizing our grid

We're building a coalition of residents and businesses who are tired of the status quo — who want to reduce utility costs, deploy distributed renewables, and create a booming clean energy economy. And we're advocating for legislation to make this happen.

 

1. Build the Coalition

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Our aging energy infrastructure needs help. Moving forward, we face two choices:

Some want the status quo, to double-down on the centralized 20th century system. This means investing billions more dollars to repair and replace 1900s infrastructure, taking wait-and-see approach with technological innovation, and promoting clean energy at the margins.

Our Coalition wants a smart grid, to move the system towards more distributed resources, transparency, and data-driven processes. This means recalibrating ratepayer dollars and modifying centuries-old rules — and enabling the deployment of cleaner, distributed resources throughout the city (e.g. battery storage, smart building solutions, rooftop solar).

Only this new path will lead to a city that's more resilient to weather and security events; to reduced costs and less centralized infrastructure; to an environment in which the regulated utility is a partner, not an adversary, to build a smarter grid; to aggressive steps to decarbonize our local grid with clean energy.

With this in mind, the Coalition for a Resilient DC (CRDC) is organizing Washingtonians who believe in two core principles:

  1. The District's energy system should be modernized and decentralized with clean, Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).
  2. The DC Council should pass, with no or minor changes, the Distributed Energy Resource Authority Act of 2018. This bill: (a) creates quasi-public authority to serve as a platform and resource for distributed energy resources (DERs); (b) makes data transparent and delivers stakeholder-driven planning; (c) mandates exploration, and execution if cost effective, of non-wires alternatives (NWAs) to traditional energy infrastructure.

We need your help to make CRDC a force that can deliver these big changes. At this point, there are a few quick, easy steps you take.

  • Sign-up using the form above.
  • Spread the word and send this website to your friends to get them involved.
  • Once you're signed up for the email list, we'll let you know about future events.

2. Introduce Legislation

Over the past decade, DC’s had hundreds of working groups and stakeholder meetings; dozens of white papers; ever-increasing goals and commitments. The Coalition for a Resilient DC recognizes that goal-setting and planning has been important — but we also know it’s time to take concrete steps for real change. The most direct route? The Distributed Energy Resource Authority Act of 2018.

Our energy system is defined by the laws and regulations that govern it. If we want to change our grid, then, the path forward is simple: let's change the laws and regulations. The good news: we've already taken huge steps!

For almost a year, CRDC supported DC Councilmember Charles Allen and DC Councilmember Mary Cheh to reimagine what's possible. We helped convene local and national experts — drawing on experiences in New York, California, Texas, Illinois, and here at home — to support the Council's smart grid efforts.

Due to their leadership, this effort has produced legislation that will reshape the District's energy landscape: On April  10, 2018, DC Councilmembers Allen and Cheh introduced The Distributed Energy Resource Authority Act of 2018.  The bill does three key things:

Mandate Non-Wires Alternatives (NWAs). NWAs — which involve distributed infrastructure, reliant on clean power — are explored whenever Pepco proposes traditional infrastructure to meet increasing capacity needs. If an NWA solution promises cost savings to the city, the NWA would be implemented. (NWA example: reducing capacity requirements, and thus the need for a new substation’s additional capacity, through solar, battery storage, and efficiency.) 

Create better, more secure energy data access. The District has invested $100M in 250,000 smart meters, but this technology has gone mostly unused. The DERA Act fixes this by giving customers functional and secure access to their energy data — so that clean energy solutions can be optimized and scaled to meet the city’s energy and climate goals. 

Ensure transparent utility grid planning. With the proliferation of distributed energy resources (e.g. solar), the District has countless new stakeholders who can, and should, provide input about the District’s grid planning. By ending the practice of grid planning in the utility’s black box, the DERA Act will bring much needed transparency to this vital process. 

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

Click here to read an overview of the bill from American Public Power Association.


3. Support & Pass Legislation

This legislative process may be fraught with hurdles. Some context: A successful bill would: (a) go through a public hearing with its assigned Committee; (b) then the Committee would markup (i.e. amend) and vote on the bill; if the Committee passes the bill, (c) the full 13-member DC Council would vote on the bill. With 7 votes, the bill passes and the Mayor can sign it into law; with 9 votes, the Council could override a veto to the legislation.

At each of these steps, the bill could stall or be killed. Those who seek to preserve the status quo will fight hard — with lobbyists, media campaigns, etc. — to sway Council and Mayoral action.

But nothing is more effective than what we have: DC residents and businesses demanding change. Once you're signed-up, we'll alert you about the following:

  • Council contact. At key points of the legislative process, we'll let you know when an email or call to your Councilmember could help. We may also organize a "lobby day" to go the Wilson Building (city hall) to lobby Councilmembers and staff in person.
  • Committee hearing testimony. We'll let you know when and how you could testify in favor the bill.
  • Community events. We'll let you know about organizing event and community meetings in your neighborhood where you could help spread the word.