Five Principles for Tomorrow’s Electricity Sector
Jenny Hu works as an analyst for business development at Clean Power Finance. Shayle Kann is senior vice president for research at Greentech Media. James Tong is vice president for strategy and government affairs at Clean Power Finance. Jon Wellinghoff practices law in San Francisco with Stoel Rives, LLP, and served previously as chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The electricity sector faces the most dramatic transformation in its history. The entire system, from infrastructure to regulation, was designed to support predictable, unidirectional power flows from centralized generators through transmission and distribution systems to passive customers. But the emergence of distributed energy resources (DERs), combined with increased availability of granular data and communications, presents an unparalleled opportunity to enhance and in some cases reinvent one of the most important systems in our society. This potential for transformation carries enormous promise. Tomorrow's grid will be a platform interconnecting millions of devices - power plants, DERs, consumers, aggregators and more - to the ultimate benefit of all electricity consumers.
Achieving this aim will prove no small task. To match the promise of the next-generation grid, we will need updated infrastructure, regulation, business models, technologies, and markets. And all these changes must occur without sacrificing the reliability and affordability that is available to customers today.