The inaugural GridWise Global Forum brought together an eclectic group of industry and public officials in Washington, D.C. from September 21-23. Dressed smartly in suits, a large crowd of industry insiders and observers gathered, eager to discuss the smart grid from infrastructure to the edge.

There was certainly "energy" at the three-day conference. People seemed excited to be there and showed up on time to hear the keynote speakers. Amidst chatter about upgrading the smart grid, the importance of having a customer focus, and securing the grid, one thing became clear. It's not possible to have a single vision of what the smart grid is: developing countries struggle with losses due to theft, the U.S. gets bogged down in its non-existent energy policy, and utilities are having to build relationships with their customers and play the privacy courtship with them.

The utilities and IBMs of the world realize that the data mine of information about our energy use has been, for the most part, untouched. Privacy experts gave their thoughts on how to protect privacy -- after all, we learned about this with Facebook and websites. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. Climate is divisive, but energy is about quality of life. We can do it, but we need to stop saying that it is difficult. The operations staff, engineers, and financiers in the room think it's technically possible to have a clean energy future.

However, the prevailing lack of vision in the industry will likely slow down the growth of the smart grid. U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu wants us to return to the innovative days of Thomas Edison. Still, the energy rush doesn't feel the same as the days of space exploration. It's more individual than that and resonates differently with everyone.

Greentech Media reporters covered the panels, key note talks, and Q&As with speakers. Read the stories here:

The links to the video will be up next week, so check back if you want to watch some of the panel sessions.

Tags: doe, ge, ibm, policy, smart grid, utilities, vc