R & D for
a Competitive Power Industry
The secret lies in gaining exclusive-use rights to protect your product or process from your competitors.
The electric utility industry is inherently a high-technology business. Those who ignore this fact for long will fall behind (em not only in using the technology, but also in contending against their higher-tech competitors. This prospect demands the same close scrutiny for research and development (R&D) as is now visited on every other aspect of the electric utility business.
Some utilities have probably gone too far in downsizing their R&D functions. Their more progressive peers have recognized their dependence on identifying, evaluating, and using innovative new technology. Most of these utilities are now working to define their R&D priorities and set up an internal organization that can manage technology programs in the future.
Changing Business Priorities
How will industry leaders define their priorities? Although we can only speculate, the list will likely read something like this:
1) Solve today's crises
2) Trim costs in current operations
3) Boost market share in existing businesses
4) Expand into naturally allied businesses
5) Expand into wholly new businesses
6) Manage new opportunities.