Seattle Journal of Technology, Environmental & Innovation Law


The United States economy, its national security, and even the health and safety of its citizens depend on reliably available electricity. Electricity is largely available through the grid – more than 9,200 generating units, capable of generating more than one terawatt of electricity, connected to more than 600,000 miles of wire. The grid extends to nearly everything: from charging cellphones to cellphone towers, from light emitting diodes to street lights, and from parking meters to electric cars; the grid has become ubiquitous.

The current grid infrastructure has been valued at two trillion dollars, but much of it is aging to the point of requiring replacement, which could cost more than four trillion dollars. However, the grid cannot simply be replaced: it must be updated to meet changing societal needs. The changing climate presents an immediate need to both reduce the grid’s contribution to climate change and bolster the reliability of the grid. Those needs can be achieved through electricity storage.