The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of an obscure-sounding ruling from the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency that is a big deal for re-jiggering the entire electric grid and helping us use resources more efficiently, as I learned from Politico via New Hampshire Business Review’s daily email alerts.

Basically, FERC wants companies to make money by not using electricity, at the same monetary rate which somebody can make it by using electricity. A lower court said FERC overstepped its authority with what is known as Order 745, but the Supreme Court has disagreed. (The ruling is more limited than this, but if it had gone the other way it could have really shaken things up.)

This system turns long-term energy efficiency and “demand response” – in which I reduce my electricity demand in response to the short-term needs of the grid –  into something that has as much monetary value as traditional electricity generation. As I discussed back in October, this sort of move is an important part of efforts to alter the entire business model of power production for utilities and everybody else, to encourage more intelligent use of resources.

Changing something as huge and valuable as electricity production and transmission without screwing it all up is very, very hard to do. This seems to me an important step in the process.

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