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On Electricity Utilities Must Evolve or Die: Are They Up to the Task?

Hi Steven,

Was this in response to the article or one of the comments below? Thanks,

Jesse

August 20, 2013    View Comment    

On Electricity Utilities Must Evolve or Die: Are They Up to the Task?

I have indeed read the Edison report, and while it is focused on effectively playing defense against emerging challenges, please read the Eurelectric report for a decidedly more proactive stance. And I also read the Bloomberg article you linked to; it is cited several times in my article above. What it says is that traditional generation assets are no longer the profit centers they once were. That doesn't spell the end of the electric power system as a whole! It means business will evolve to find new ways to deliver value to end consumers and returns to shareholders. Read the Eurelectric report to see how European utilities are thinking about this challenge.

August 20, 2013    View Comment    

On Electricity Utilities Must Evolve or Die: Are They Up to the Task?

Bob, Eli is referring to natural gas competing with electricity for various household and business energy services, including heating and cooling (HVAC), which gas can easily provide today, as well as electricity generation, which gas may also soon be competitively providing via fuel cells, microturbines and other gas-fueled distributed generation technologies. 

No one is talking about returning to the "dark ages" before the advent of electricity! I'd challenge you to step out of this binary between electric utilities as they exist today (and basically have since the days of Edison and Tesla) and the kind of dark age you envision a pre-dating the emergence of the electric utility sector. There are any number of possible "utilities of the future" that may emerge through an evolution of the power sector. What's happening now in Europe is likely just the first glimpse of what may come, or at least the kinds of forces driving evolutionary change.

And remember, this isn't just my speculation: my article cites two reports from the electric power sector itself - Eurelectric and Edison Electric Institute, which collectively represent the largest utilities in the world. So I'd encourage you to check out those reports for more...

Jesse

August 20, 2013    View Comment    

On Electricity Utilities Must Evolve or Die: Are They Up to the Task?

Thanks Eli. And yes, Bob, I'm not talking about the end of the electric power sector, rather its evolution. You are right that modern civilization doesnt last long without reliable electricity access. The question is what kind of business models and technology systems will provide that reliable access in the future? Will that system look the same as today? Will today's business models be up to the task? Or will many go bankrupt (aka "die") while others evolve and capture the rewards (aka "thrive")? Those are the kind of questions I'm probing here. Cheers,

Jesse

August 20, 2013    View Comment    

On The Future of Energy: Why Power Density Matters

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe this post sets the record!

Jesse Jenkins
Digital Community Strategist,
TheEnergyCollective.com

August 12, 2013    View Comment    

On The Future of Energy: Why Power Density Matters

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe this post sets the record!

Jesse Jenkins
Digital Community Strategist,
TheEnergyCollective.com

August 12, 2013    View Comment    

On Rethinking the Role of Carbon Prices in Climate Change Policy

The whole idea behind a carbon tax is to shift relative incentives for purchasing decisions by all economic actors. That means that the price signal created by the tax necessarily has to be passed along to all purchasers. So even if you could somehow force producers of fossil fuels to pay the tax and not pass along the resulting increase in their costs of business to their customers (and I'm not sure how you would do that), you wouldn't want to. It would defeat the whole purpose of the carbon pricing measure. 

August 2, 2013    View Comment    

On Rethinking the Role of Carbon Prices in Climate Change Policy

In the long-run Max, sure. Point well taken. But that's a little bit like saying, "In the long run, we're all dead."

In the short-run, I challenge you to find a government anywhere committed to the idea of ceasing economic growth. And how soon physical limits are relevant to the path of economic growth is itself a function of what kind of growth we pursue and how we pursue it. I encourage you to watch this interview with Ramez Naam on a similar topic.

July 31, 2013    View Comment    

On Cost of Closing San Onofre Nuclear Plant: 13.6 Billion

"Suggestion: The American people need balanced information and The Energy Collective should provide Pro-Con articles which would help promote balanced discussions on critical energy matters facing all of us."

Thanks for the suggestion. We  may try to do something like this. Overall, we aim to foster a wide range of views and opinions at the Energy Collective, provided they are all well researched and substantiated. While we don't generally do point-counterpoint stories like that, if you look at our home page on any given day or week, you will likely see articles with positions that starkly contrast one another. And we rely on our comment community to further the discussion on each article (as has happened here). Thanks for commenting,

Jesse 


July 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Rethinking the Role of Carbon Prices in Climate Change Policy

The idea that declines in non-module costs are impossible is a highly contested claim! Just as the DOE SunShot program. 

July 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Cost of Closing San Onofre Nuclear Plant: 13.6 Billion

"Capt D," our apologies, some of your comments got held up in our moderation queue over night. They should all be published now. 

"I K," you've been warned repeatedly to keep comments constructive and on topic and to avoid insults and snide remarks. This is a forum for a civilized conversation. 

Jesse Jenkins

Digital Community Strategist
TheEnergyCollective.com

July 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Rethinking the Role of Carbon Prices in Climate Change Policy

We certainly need young scientists. But the energy-climate-human system is the perfect example of a socio-scientific-technical system. It's going to require engineers, scientists, social scientists, policy researchers and all kinds of other types to unravel this challenge. As a current graduate student in technology & policy and socio-technical systems, I hope you don't narrowly exclude those approaching this challenge from a social science or regulatory/policy end of things as well. We need "policy engineers" who "have a clue" as much as we need scientists and technology engineers!

July 29, 2013    View Comment