Issues such as the growing need for reinvestment in electricity infrastructure, climate change and other environmental concerns, an increasing focus on grid resilience, and the rapid development of new business solutions to leverage the changing cost of technologies that produce, deliver, and use electricity are fundamentally changing the electricity landscape in the U.S.
As a result, rapid innovation—as well as change, cooperation, and conflict—are occurring at the “seams” in the electricity sector where no single stakeholder or industry group can control the outcome. The most important new sources of competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing electricity sector are not technology or market position; they are the ability of innovators to work efficiently and effectively in complex multi-stakeholder environments. Shifting the electricity sector will require engagement and innovation across traditional institutional boundaries.
But developing practical, workable solutions will be challenging:
- The electricity system is technically complex and reliability-driven, and transforming it is akin to rebuilding an airplane while in flight.
- As a society, we have not solved this kind of challenge before; we can’t simply replicate the same thing that worked last time.
- The system is transitioning from being centralized and hierarchical to distributed and more complex.