The United States electricity grid faces significant problems resulting from fundamental design principles that limit its ability to handle the key energy challenges of the 21st century. We propose an innovative electric power architecture, rooted in lessons learned from the Internet and microgrids, which addresses these problems while interfacing gracefully into the current grid to allow for non-disruptive incremental adoption. Such a system, which we term a “Local” grid, is controlled by intelligent power switches (IPS), and can consist of loads, energy sources, and energy storage. The desired result of the proposed architecture is to produce a grid network designed for distributed renewable energy, prevalent energy storage, and stable autonomous systems. We will describe organizing principles of such a system that ensure well-behaved operation, such as requirements for communication and energy transfer protocols, regulation and control schemes, and market-based rules of operation.