Consumers are increasingly exploring ways to supply their own energy – e.g., distributed generation and microgrids – and many observers have claimed that these alternatives may begin a death spiral for traditional utility business models. Is this true? What should utilities do now?
Although utilities are faced with more distributed resources on the grid, the death of the electric utility has been greatly exaggerated. The industry may be facing profound changes to the manner in which electricity is produced and delivered, but there is an opportunity for utilities to begin to integrate new resources in a way that leverages existing infrastructure and ensures (and even improves) reliability.