Power System Transformation and the Smart Utility of the Future
An accelerated rate of innovation and change is placing the 20th century models of electricity delivery under pressure. As a result, custodians of the power sector face an unprecedented number of challenges—not only to uphold the core principles of universal access, reliable service, and affordability, but to simultaneously meet new expectations for grids to be resilient, flexible, environmentally friendly, and customer controlled. The challenge is, in effect, to strategically guide power system transformation, and one of the key issues will be to clarify the role that power utilities will play.
This Roundtable will examine trends in wholesale and retail power system evolution, explore threats and opportunities for current utility business and operational models, discuss the role of technology and finance innovation, and share ideas and lessons learned for policy and regulatory frameworks that can guide power system transformation.
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- How are wholesale electricity markets evolving differently under clean energy mixes?
- What impact is restructuring having on grid planning? Are there tensions between restructuring and planning? How does restructuring impact the relationship between transmission and distribution network planning?
- How are distributed energy resources influencing retail electricity delivery?
- What new business models are evolving? Are customer-facing utilities able to effectively move toward customer-oriented services?
- Where can technology and finance innovation relieve some of the challenges of power system transformation?
- What can the private sector do to open new pathways for wholesale and retail business model evolution?
- What role does subsidy reform have in setting the framework for power system transformation?
- Where can policy makers and regulators have the most impact in clarifying the role of utilities, and in clarifying the types of innovation that should be undertaken?