Edited by Jennifer I. Considine
Chapter 17: Policy risk, politics and low carbon energy
The power system is in the midst of the digital revolution, driven by a rapidly evolving technology that is transforming the grid into a “smart grid.” This chapter focuses on this technological revolution and begins by discussing what is the smart grid, what are its drives and its challenges, followed by a framework for analyzing its costs and benefits. Such an evaluation requires taking into account the reliability and resilience of the grid, the flexibility to assimilate distributed energy resources (DER) and the impacts on the workforce, among many variables. This discussion necessarily requires considering the role of different technological innovations that are penetrating the electric system and its impacts on the utilities. We explore what are the utilities of the future and what are the alternative business models that may arise. Finally, we consider the interplay of the different technologies and the new challenges that these revolutions will bring to regulators.
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