The Energy Transformation (or, really, a Revolution) is underway. After 130 years, the electric utility industry is going through a disruption “…potentially as great as those that have remade the airlines, the music industry and the telephone business.” In New York, the State Public Service Commission’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) aims to open the electric market in new ways, to more competition.
New York State utilities had 100+ years of monopoly business – then were restructured in the 1990s with electric deregulation, shedding their generation and transmission business. Now, their business model is being forced to change by technology advances and public benefit policies. Solar prices have declined by 70% in the last 5 years; down more than 99% in the last 30. With new financing mechanisms, solar can now save almost any electricity customer money – and consistently continue to do so for 25+ years.
In this article, Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind, from the New York Times, one homebuilder now provides 20-year deals that sell homeowners the power from their own roofs – at a 20 percent discount from the local utility’s prices.
There is a need to balance the critical electric system survival and evolution, with new revenue models that maintain and enhance the platforms of the utilities (or “Distributed System Providers”, as they are starting to be renamed). How we maintain our electric grid infrastructure while creating opportunities for innovation in the new markets and new business models is the challenge of our times.
EarthKind is a key participant in the REV process, and is providing intelligence and intervention into the evolving market for a number of our clients.