It’s too soon to say the utility industry has evolved, or reached some kind of 2.0 status in 2016. There’s still much work ahead and most states have yet to forge ahead with new business utility models and aggressive grid reform. But the vision became clearer this year, outlined by favorable policies and strong research, and enabled by cheaper technologies and more robust infrastructure.
While coal and natural gas may continue their commodities war for some time, new battle lines are being drawn. The next resource tensions will be between the value of storage and demand flexibility, and between the brute force of clean resources and developers’ ability to isolate their locational value.
In New York, utilities have made significant progress using distributed resources to defer costly investments, and are experimenting with new business models. In California, demand response and storage are now competing in wholesale markets. Several states, notably Hawaii, have shown how to bring intermittent resources online quickly.
Regionally, PJM has strengthened its capacity product while working to enable demand response as a competitive resource. In the Northeast, voluntary carbon markets are saving (literal) tons of pollution, while in the West, a voluntary energy balancing market is saving millions of dollars and optimizing use of renewable energy.
Read more (Utility Dive)