Can natural gas supply keep up with demand for power?
Things are looking up for the energy industry, but tough issues remain. Regulators-forced to grapple with the mismatch between volatile natural-gas prices and years of building gas-fired power plants-have learned a thing or two. They now insist on new rate schemes and risk-management methods while promoting the use of liquefied natural gas.
Cyber and Physical Security:
Although NERC and other agencies are helping out, utilities still face internal obstacles.
Energy Storage Systems
How to reduce the cycling costs of conventional generation.
Energy Storage Systems (ESS) can provide significant benefits associated with reduced damage to fossil-fuel power plants if the ESS is used in such as way that it reduces start-ups or load-following/cycling. Though those benefits may not be well known, understood, or documented, they are real and ascertainable.
The technology behind demand-side response.
Across the country, policy-makers are working with both federal and state legislators and regulators to define policies and laws that will impact how utilities do business in the coming years. One policy receiving much attention right now may require electric utilities to offer voluntary demand-response programs to their customers. Demand-response programs allow customers to voluntarily adjust their daily energy usage in a manner that is acceptable with their needs.
Demand-Side Management & Metering Tech
Combining real-time usage data with the newest technology can earn benefits for utilities.
Some amount of confusion on the part of end-users of electricity is inevitable as the electricity industry evolves. Confusion seems to be a necessary ingredient of change. At PJM Interconnection, we see fusion as the answer to confusion. First is the fusion of technology-both computing and communications technology-with the electric industry.
Reactive power is the key to an efficient and reliable grid.
EPRI challenges the industry to modernize the grid.
At a time when a secure and reliable electricity infrastructure should be one of our highest priorities, we find ourselves with a system that is increasingly vulnerable to power quality problems and to intrusion, both natural and man-made. The constraints on utility investment that have brought us to this state must be released so that we can move forward to enable a truly digital society and economy.
Fundamentals in the energy markets are converging to increase the need for incremental gas storage.
The natural gas market is approaching a dramatic turning point. The fundamentals in the energy markets are converging to increase the need for incremental gas storage and the way that storage is used and valued by the customer community. Why is new storage needed? What will it take for new storage to be developed? What do customers need to commit to new storage projects?
Service-quality improvements need to be thought through in advance and managed.
Customer information systems (CIS) are almost never justified and implemented to realize dramatic gains in quality of service. Revenue improvements? Yes. Rates management flexibility? You bet. Delinquency and write-off improvements? Sure. Statutory pressure, including introduction of deregulation? Maybe not as often these days, but still true. Technology consistency, supportability, and application integration? Absolutely.
How will the industry change in the future?
The utility industry of the future can be best characterized by three words: scale, synergies, and automation. Company leaders and the broader workforce will be touched by these three forces for change. We can already see glimpses of the future around us today. In response to the sweep of deregulation, many power companies no longer generate power. They have divested themselves of their generating plants, ceding that ground to independent producers to concentrate on distribution.