--Poor Richard 09:52, 7 April 2011 (UTC) In the US, much of the electric grid is municipally owned, community owned (as in "rural electric co-operatives"), publicly licensed, and/or runs over public rights of way. This provides a great deal of public-interest policy leverage over the existing grid.
In the US, I believe the single most important policy for promoting p2p energy is already in place in many areas--that is "net metering" or "reverse metering". Net metering allows any peer producer to put surplus energy onto the grid. In many cases such locally peer-produced energy, reverse-metered onto the grid, is credited at a subsidized rate above the normal consumer rate for electricity.
Such net metering policies need to be extended everywhere throughout the US.
Meanwhile, in areas where net metering is already in place, I propose that an additional policy initiative be attempted. This would entail allowing each peer-producer and consumer the option to negotiate rates among themselves. Some peer-producers might charge rates higher than the "retail" consumer rate. In this case such producers would operate much like existing "green power" producers. In other cases producers might sell their surplus to preferred consumers (say family-related households or eco-village neighbors) at a discounted rate. Such a practice could be implemented over the existing grid with little more administrative effort than existing "green power" programs require.
As parts of the existing grid are gradually updated and upgraded, it should be possible to build in direct p2p balancing, metering, and billing capability so that no institutional "middleman" is required for adding or withdrawing amounts of energy that are below some threshold adequate to prevent outages or overloads. --Poor Richard 09:52, 7 April 2011 (UTC)