August 28, 2013
As a confluence of factors inclusive of economics, education, technology and globalization the structure of energy is shifting. The drive of legislation and the integration of renewable, oil and gas are dynamically changing the face of the grid. The challenge is to define the grid as it grows to be smart through the integration of nodes, data and energy sources to support the development of energy demand over the next 30 years. The speculation and interpretation of “Why the U.S. Power Grid’s Days Are Numbered” is conversation that effects all.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported, “There are 3,200 utilities that make up the U.S. electrical grid, the largest machine in the world. These power companies sell $400 billion worth of electricity a year, mostly derived from burning fossil fuels in centralized stations and distributed over 2.7 million miles of power lines. Regulators set rates; utilities get guaranteed returns; investors get sure-thing dividends. It’s a model that hasn’t changed much since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. And it’s doomed to obsolescence.”
The change of the existing grid is vast change to the processes of how energy is managed and distributed. These changes effect cost, strategy to the end user. The complexity of having various companies call about switching suppliers is a quiet storm over the fast track implementation in deregulation, offsets, new legislation and the lack of education on the topic. The next 10 years will be leap forward for infrastructural preparedness.
“David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy, a wholesale power company based in Princeton, N.J. What’s afoot is a confluence of green energy and computer technology, deregulation, cheap natural gas, and political pressure that, as Crane starkly frames it, poses “a mortal threat to the existing utility system.” He says that in about the time it has taken cell phones to supplant land lines in most U.S. homes, the grid will become increasingly irrelevant as customers move toward decentralized homegrown green energy.”
In the style of push back it is not the a threat to the utility system but to the consumers. The system will fragment causing more profits, partnerships and global influence but the infrastructure and end user will reap the losses of the deregulation. Currently, as telecoms shift to reduce the management of wire to wireless the access to the simple system of 911 is thwarted. Those in rural areas with less capabilities will leave many in an technological divide. This does not effect the industry or the utilities but the users. The shift in grid is the next step in the economic ans social divide.
AS change is certain so is the inevitable change in energy regulation as new thinking is postulated on a smart grid or smarter infrastructure to manage cities, transportation, power usage, technology and the political landscape.
- Smart Grid (docireport.org)
- Peter Gardett: Three Lessons Fashion Can Teach the Energy Industry? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Distributed energy and rooftop solar doom dinosaur utilities (polizeros.com)
- Distributed Generation Poses Existential Threat To Utilities (forbes.com)