To handle more wind and solar energy, the electric grid needs an upgrade. That means moving from a passive to an interactive system, where you — the consumer — play an important role.


Transactive energy refers to a dynamic system that responds to changing prices as electricity supply and demand fluctuates. With this system, your home can talk to the grid and automatically use less electricity when prices are high, and more when they are low.

MELTON: “So we have a grid that’s much more dynamic than it used to be, and through transactive energy systems, we can accomplish a better coordination of these increasing number of moving parts.”

That’s Ron Melton of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He says that since the technology responds in real time, the benefits include a more stable grid and savings for consumers.

But transactive energy systems also provide consumers with a new tool to help reduce climate change. By using less electricity when the grid is stressed and prices are high, consumers can help utilities reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and add more solar and wind energy to the mix.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project Quarterly Newsletter (on transactive energy)

A regular contributor to Yale Climate Connections since 2012, David Appell, Ph.D., is a freelance writer living in Salem, Oregon, specializing in the physical sciences, technology, and the environment. His...