Key Trends Driving Change in the Electric Power Industry

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In June 2016, The Edison Foundation Institute for Electric Innovation published Key Trends Driving Change in the Electric Power Industry Volume II, a collection of 12 essays by industry thought leaders under the section headings of: Innovating with Customers; Smart Storage, Smart Cities, and Smarter Grid; and Energy Future.

This compendium accepts the premise that the world is becoming only more and more dependent upon electricity and that in addition to wanting safe, reliable, affordable energy, customers increasingly want their energy to be clean as well. But customers are also looking for grid resilience individualized services, and being able to connect distributed energy resources and devices.

The Institute assumes that to achieve what customers want, the way electricity is created and delivered is going to have to change and accommodate, minimally, a combination of clean energy generators; an integrated grid that must coordinate a complex set of central and distributed energy sources; a digitally enabled grid, (the so-called Grid of Things™); and provision of various individualized services from different supplies including but not limited to utilities, to customers.

Furthermore, the report cites Steven Case’s 2016 book, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future, in which Case argues that the third wave of the Internet—the “Internet of Everything”—will be integrated into every aspect of our lives, disrupting major sectors of the economy—including health care, education, food, and energy.

The essays look at what is driving change in the electricity industry and the need to work innovatively and cooperatively to meet customer demand, while advancing smart storage, and understanding the critical role that smarter cities will play in this electricity revolution. At the heart of everything is the digital grid.