Many experts have forecasted a "New Industrial Revolution" evolving from the Internet of Things, and ultimately resulting in a New Energy Economy based on the sharing of massively distributed resources such as data, communications, information processing, and now even personal assets such as vehicles and facilities. In the power industry, critical factors are coming into alignment to enable the sharing of distributed energy resources. If properly executed, the result could be a highly efficient and robust clean energy economy which shatters many of the business models and regulatory frameworks applying for over a century in the energy industry.
This meeting focused on how an “Energy Internet” is feasible and attainable with existing technology, and how regulatory and economic forces are now moving to catalyze this opportunity for the benefit of all. Some of the issues our panel of experts addressed include:
Collaborative Goals to Sustain Our Future
1) Technology and Applications. Which technologies are positioned to enable and grow energy networks? What are their principal benefits and risks?
2) Geographic Reach. Are energy networks intrinsically local or regional? How far can the networks go?
3) Regulatory issues. What regulatory changes are required to facilitate unencumbered distributed energy, including nanogrids and microgrids? What regulatory constraints are appropriate to keep the grid safe, reliable and resilient?
4) Evolutionary Path. How can the centralized grid gradually and seamlessly evolve into the distributed grid? Is Transactive Energy the next stage of development?
5) Utilities. What is the best role for utilities? Should regulators authorize utilities to invest in, maintain, and earn a profit on customer-side distributed generation and microgrids?
6) Funding. What are the most active sources of investment funding?