This is the landing page for the electric industry as we know it today. On this page, you will find resources that will help you to understand how the system works and how, increasingly, it is not working because of key challenges. Links direct you to webpages that provide drill down information.
While research on electricity dates to the 17th and 18th centuries, the electric utility industry itself could be seen to have begun with Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb in 1878. Electricity soon became the foundation of modern life throughout the world, based on a steadily improving system of electron generation, distribution and conversion into mechanical power, lights, heat, etc. Electric utilities arose as the corporations and institutions charged with building, owning, operating and maintaining this increasingly complex integrated system – the grid – that ensures a stead supply of the quintessential energy commodity, electricity measured in kilowatt-hours (kWhs).
The Centralized energy economy described in the Traditional Electricity section above has become a hybrid economy with the introduction and maturation of Decentralized forms of energy. Decentralization really is a distinctly different approach to energy than what we have grown up with. The key reason we are in transition now is that decentralized energy, now coming of age, is radically different.
Historically, we’ve received our electricity from power plants via the grid and a utility connection. That’s the left side of this chart. While we will continue to get much of our electricity through the grid and utilities, there are now more and more competitive options in the decentralized sphere. That means that we are all adjusting to this change, some better than others…. some willingly, others less so.
The emerging phenomenon of Personal Energy is described as Personal Energy as a Service (PEAAS), a natural transition from the past to the future, driven by market forces centered on steadily increasing Personalization and Value. By comparing the more mature transformation of infrastructure into services in the telecom/information economy, Personal Energy is explained here.
This analysis builds on the Infrastructure to Services transformation by showcasing two industry revolutions, one more mature and the other just beginning to occur. First, we look at the Internet Revolution, well documented in innumerable analyses by now. In fact, we all lived through the amazing digitization of our lives, societies, and economies over the course of a single generation.
Certainly we have enjoyed a sometimes bumpy but steady progress punctuated by key leaps in technologies. New companies have popped into view overnight, killing off well established incumbents in surprising short order. By breaking the Internet Revolution into five key milestones or eras, we see a pattern emerge that is instructive to a similar revolution coming in electricity, just beginning to reveal itself: the eNet Revolution.