A look back from year 2050 – on what we thought we once knew.
Lorenzo Kristov is principal for market and infrastructure policy at the California Independent System Operator. The ideas discussed in this article are the views and opinions of the author and do not reflect policies or positions of the California Independent System Operator.
In hindsight, from our vantage point here in the year 2050, we can see now how far off the mark we were back in 2015.
The so-called 'disruptive' challenges to the electric system, which seemed so chaotic during the first two decades of this century, have now run their course. Today, some 35 years later, those challenges have converged into a new industry model - but not the one we foresaw back in 2015.
But we should have understood, even back then. Given the broad consensus on the forces at play during those years, the 'integrated decentralized' paradigm that prevails now in 2050 could not have been more obvious. Why couldn't we figure out where the industry was heading?
On the other hand, however, it is a bit surprising that everything happened so fast. The basic framework of the new paradigm was widely accepted early on - certainly by 2030, when its implementation well was underway - with many of its structural elements already in place in many parts of the country.
Which brings us back to the present, at mid-century. And so this article will provide a retrospective snapshot of the U.S. electric system - how it looked in 2015, how it had changed so much by 2030, and how the drivers of change that were so rampant during the twenty-teens converged eventually to form a coherent, well-functioning, and brand-new electric system.