Reinventing the Grid, Part 2
Paul DeCotis is senior director and head of the East Coast Energy & Utilities practice for West Monroe. Prior, he oversaw Long Island Power Authority’s market policy, including participation in the NYISO, PJM, and ISO-NE and interactions with FERC. He was a founding member of the Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council. He was energy secretary and senior energy advisor for two New York governors.
Kojo Sefah is a senior consultant in the Energy & Utilities practice at West Monroe. He has worked with utilities in their transition to become Utilities of the Future through technology conceptualization, R&D, and project implementation in fields of distributed energy resources, energy and power markets, and data analytics.
Brandon Swartout is a manager in the Energy & Utilities practice at West Monroe. He helps utility clients transform and adapt to new business models through strategic, operational, and technology initiatives.
Federal and state energy efficiency programs initiated in the late 1970s and continuing through today have transformed energy use in buildings through technological innovations. The energy efficiency and demand response industry, while mature, still requires government and utility funding to reach customers and markets currently underserved by energy service providers and vendors.
Government-supported research, development, and demonstration replenishes the innovation pipeline, ensuring a stream of new ideas. Given the serendipitous nature of innovation, not all ideas will make it to the mass market.
Still, it's important to ensure that the innovation pipeline doesn't dry up. The International Energy Agency reports that nine countries doubled their clean energy RD&D spending between 2009 and 2011, compared with 2006 to 2008, adding over six billion dollars per year to their aggregate spending over the three-year period from 2009.
Perhaps the best example of how RD&D leads to greater economic activity is the approach taken during the 2008-09 financial crisis, when the 2009 U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted, allocating seven and a half billion dollars to energy RD&D.