Vermont Law School launches smart grid project


CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT ––Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment has hired two energy policy experts to conduct smart grid research aimed at laying the legal and regulatory groundwork for updating the U.S. power grid.

Kevin Jones, who will be the project’s leader, and smart grid fellow Christopher Cooper will look for ways to improve the reliability, cost and environmental impacts of the nation’s energy policy. The project is funded by a $450,000 federal Department of Energy grant that U.S. Rep. Peter Welch announced in April.

Jones has been at the center of the transformation of the electric power industry in the Northeast as the director of power market policy for the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and as the former director of energy policy for the City of New York . LIPA is one of the largest municipal utilities in the nation and is a leader in energy conservation and alternative energy technologies.

Cooper founded the Network for New Energy Choices, where he wrote “Freeing the Grid,” the first ranking of state net metering policies. He also co-wrote “Renewing America,” an analysis of federal renewable portfolio standards that was used as a briefing book during the U.S. Senate debate over renewable portfolio standard legislation in 2007.

The VLS smart grid project has two goals:

· To assess the U.S. power grid’s legal and regulatory structures in an effort to improve load management and system-efficiency.

* To create legal and regulatory standards that address privacy, confidentiality and liability issues.

Professor Michael Dworkin, director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment, said the project will provide the foundation to protect customer information, while making the transmission system more efficient. That, in turn, will greatly reduce costs, environmental emissions and reliability concerns, he said.

The federal grant to VLS follows $69 million in federal stimulus funds awarded to Vermont last fall for its “eEnergy Vermont ” plan. The plan is meant to create jobs, reduce costs and cut fossil fuel emissions by deploying the first statewide Smart Grid system. Vermont ’s stimulus grant was part of a $3.4 billion Smart Grid investment created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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