Tectonic Shifts in the U.S. Electricity Sector

December 15, 2014  • Andy Karsner & Roger Ballentine, Co-Chairs

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Key Points

  • Information technologies are driving fundamental changes in how electricity is generated, provided and consumed.
  • Energy companies should concentrate less on selling electrons than on offering consumers services they value.
  • Utility regulatory models need to bring the following into alignment given their different time horizons: long-term generation planning, mid-term smart grid design, and very near-term device and software design and deployment.
  • The draft 111(d) rule is encouraging worthwhile conversations in states about how emissions reductions will be achieved, what their energy mix will be, what role clean energy will play, and how state policies and market structures need to change in the years ahead.
  • Continued discussion is needed among a range of actors, including, in particular, regulators and utility executives, to understand the speed and nature of the changes that are occurring.

The report from the 2014 Aspen Institute Clean Energy Forum “Tectonic Shifts in the U.S. Electricity Sector” focuses on the economic disruption occurring to existing business models in the electricity sector given the rise of consumers; distributed generation, and the impacts of energy efficiency. Related topics also include the changing role of regulators and the implications of the 111(d) proposed rules recently put forward by EPA.