DNV GL Utility of the Future Blog

Who is responsible for securing the future power system?

Peter Vaessen - smallOne of the big trends in the transition towards a sustainable energy supply is the change observed in electric power generation. More and more businesses and individuals generate electricity and want to sell the excess power. These developments are mainly driven by market opportunities and technology, and are only partly the result of government policies. Having said this—for the development of transmission and distribution system transition—do we have to rely upon the government? Or can we leave this also to “the market?” In regard to the market solution, advocated by industry, arguments have been focused on addressing issues like physical and cyber security, as well as mandatory standards for critical infrastructures to ensure an efficient and reliable operation of the power system. (View this WSJ video for more background information on “Who should secure America’s power grid?”). …READ MORE

Is it time for more U.S. utilities to embrace prepaid metering?

CRAIGBIALYWhat comes to mind when you here the term “prepaid metering?” Let me guess… It’s a good way to:

    • Limit the bad debt caused by credit-challenged low-income customers
    • Limit the write-offs caused by energy theft
    • Limit utility employees’ exposure to the dangers of having to deal with customers in “bad” neighborhood

Right?

No wonder it’s a concept that is not wholeheartedly embraced by utilities in the United States. The negative stigma that has been attached to it has prevented numerous utilities, concerned with customer and regulator perceptions, from implementing such programs. No one can deny that utilities are not noted for being early adopters. Typically, their regulatory structures do not incent them to be proactive or innovative. Many have grown used to writing off the bad debt attributable to uncollectables and theft of energy through rate case filings.

…READ MORE

Regional policies can decide wind’s future

Elena Basic DNV GLThis article was first published in WindPower Monthly, March 2014.

Australian wind energy has been on a roll for much of the time since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in 2001. Installed capacity currently stands at more than 3GW, up from just 200MW a decade ago. Behind this success are a world-class wind resource and a well developed supply chain. Investment in wind will account for the lion’s share of the A$18.7 billion (US$ 16.3 billion) expected to be generated by the RET.

But despite strong historical performance, political wrangling over federally-legislated RET has made investors wary and the future of wind energy in Australia is uncertain.

Some comfort has been provided by the federally-funded Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena). although the respite may be shortlived. Arena is facing cuts to its funding and the CEFC is at risk of being dismantled under the new conservative coalition government that took power in September. …READ MORE