Disruptive Challenges and the Electric Utility Grid

Posted by $ Flootus5 7 years ago to Technology
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Folks; This is an interesting white paper from the Edison Electric Institute about how the increasing use of "DER" i.e. Solar PV and other renewable sources of energy is threatening the shareholder invested electric utility grid. An interesting read with comparisons of the grid today with how the telephone and airline industries saw dramatic changes with new technologies. An interesting exploration into public utilities, regulatory regimes and how new technologies can "threaten" the status quo. I look forward to Gulcher comments..

From Executive Summary:
Recent technological and economic changes are expected to challenge and
transform the electric utility
industry. These changes (or “disruptive challenges”) arise due to a convergence of factors, including: falling
costs of distributed generation and other distributed energy resources (DER); an enhanced focus on
development of
new DER technologies; increasing customer, regulatory, and political interest in demand
-
side management technologies (DSM); government programs to incentivize selected technologies; the
declining price of natural gas; slowing economic growth trends; and
rising electricity prices in certain areas
of the country. Taken together, these factors are potential “game changers” to the U.S. electric utility
industry, and are likely to dramatically impact customers, employees, investors, and the availability of cap
ital
to fund future investment. The timing of such transformative changes is unclear, but with the potential for
technological innovation (e.g., solar photovoltaic or PV) becoming economically viable due to this
confluence of forces, the industry and its s
takeholders must proactively assess the impacts and alternatives
available to address disruptive challenges in a timely manner
SOURCE URL: http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/finance/Documents/disruptivechallenges.pdf


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  • Posted by Zenphamy 7 years ago
    Thus the surcharges for grid connected home or community owned solar and a couple of cities that have passed laws recently requiring everyone to be connected to the local utility, whether they want or need it.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 years ago
    "customers are not precluded from leaving the
    system entirely if a more cost-competitive alternative is available (e.g., a scenario where efficient energy
    storage combined with distributed generation could create the ultimate risk to grid viability)."
    I wonder if this situation is analogous to the old national phone monopolies.

    BTW, that fact that PVs dropped from $3.80/watt to $0.86/watt is staggering.
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