Future Filled with Questions
Mark Knight works in the Electric Infrastructure integration team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He is the administrator of the GridWise Architecture Council and chair of the SEPA transactive energy working group, and responsible for providing thought leadership for PNNL’s research portfolios in interoperability and transactive systems.
Tom Sloan was elected to his 12th term in the Kansas House of Representatives. He serves on DOE, FCC, and EPA advisory committees and has hosted FERC Commissioners in Kansas. He focuses on energy, telecommunications, and water policy interactions in Kansas and nationally.
The United States has been a technology leader for decades. Recently, that leadership has been eroded as European and Asian countries have stepped up their games. In at least the areas of grid interoperability and transactive-energy system research, leadership still resides in the United States, but all over the world, electricity grids are changing, not just physically but in terms of their nature.
Why is this happening? It is because the fundamental nature of the utility as a natural monopoly has been almost the same in all countries and the changes affecting this situation are taking place everywhere. There are five characteristics of a natural monopoly and today's modern grid is eroding all of them.
What does this mean? It means that the system of regulation and methods of operating the grid and its markets are facing changes and challenges. Attendees and speakers from five continents recently gathered at MIT to discuss ways to address these challenges at the transactive-energy systems conference organized by the GridWise Architecture Council and SEPA.
Researchers, academics, policymakers (legislators, regulators, utility executives), industry vendors, consultants, and U.S. federal agencies including DOE and NIST met and collaboratively outlined a future where transactive-energy systems will address these changes.