Today's interconnected grid system is the outgrowth of market forces that have evolved over time, resulting in several different local and regional markets intermeshed with different levels of policy and regulation. As we develop a future resilient and secure electric grid, we have the opportunity to evolve our market and regulatory structure and enable the introduction of new technologies, agile and flexible grid topologies, dramatically different business models, and greater consumer involvement in energy decisions. Just as our grid functions at different levels, these market and policy structures will have to interact and align at different levels throughout the country, addressing federal, state, and even local needs.
Market and Policy, at all levels of government and industry, will likely be heavily shaped and influenced by major events that are currently unfolding:
- Many utilities continue to operate, and even struggle, with a legacy business model. This approach can narrow customer offerings, limit utility relevance and hamper utility growth. We will hear from a progressive rural coop that is developing new and innovative business models for both renewables and broadband internet
- The challenging wildfire seasons in the West are a reminder that energized, downed conductors are an ongoing and major risk for all utilities. The public hazards will likely lead to policy impacts at State, Federal and Local levels. We will hear from an industry practitioner on these changes, including current and emerging technologies that might be employed for prevention and detection
- The North American electric grid is a complex machine that enables modern society. Each and every individual component that makes up this machine must be tracked and managed. We will hear from an industry expert on some of the latest developments in Work and Asset Management
- Puerto Rico's continuing struggle to recover from Hurricane Maria provides a sober reminder of the importance of a resilient and strong electric grid, not only in Puerto Rico but across the entire U.S. We will hear from a senior Utility executive who was "on the ground" to assess the grid shortly following the hurricane.
- We will hear an expert on the outlook for resilience in electricity generation and distribution including the roles of energy markets, new technologies, needed infrastructure, energy storage, and renewables.