The power of distributed power!
Once upon a time when a big power plant retired, it was replaced by one as big or bigger. But not anymore. Energy efficiency is increasingly reducing the need for more power. And when it is needed, distributed generation may be enough.
That's how utilities increasingly view the market, according to this year's Strategic Directions: U.S. Electric Industry report issued August 12 by Black & Veatch.
The report is based on a survey of 576 utility leaders from May 7 to May 27.
As coal and nuclear plants retire, utilities find it less necessary to replace them with the same number of megawatts because of increased levels of energy efficiency, according to the survey. Instead, utilities can turn to solar and other smaller generators.
"Our system was built around the notion of central generation, transmission, distribution. But now with renewables and more self-generation, we are going to have to integrate those into the grid," said Dean Osvig, president and CEO of B&V Energy. "What that means for the traditional utility is that they are going to have to make their money more on a capacity basis and less so on an energy sales basis."
Small solar installation image via Shutterstock.
Read more at ENN Affiliate, Clean Techies.