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This article represents an edited version of opinions expressed in an extensive white paper created by many individuals associated with the Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and posted on PSERC's Web site, www.pserc. org. The four tasks described above are considered crucial to smart grid R&D, demonstration, and eventual deployment. As learning and innovation occur during the course of a demonstration, changes may be needed in the architecture, the components, and the way they are integrated operationally. The goal is to acquire the best information possible for the eventual decisions on whether and how an integrated smart grid solution should be implemented, so adjusting demonstrations as needed to provide that information is very appropriate. It is also important that demonstrations be designed and implemented to gain the knowledge needed for a system wide deployment of a smart grid. The bulk transmission system should be included in the design. There are a great number of unknowns in moving toward the national goal of a low-carbon economy. That uncertainty can be reduced by effectively designed large-scale demonstrations drawing on the results of prior R&D efforts.