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). This area includes such key issues as Supply Chain, Power Generation, Power Distribution, Integrated Infrastructure, and Regulatory Oversight.
Key Challenges. Not at all exhaustive, this short list introduces some of the primary challenges facing Traditional Electricity today: Peak Energy, DER/DG, Energy Access, Energy Poverty and Energy Innovation, Infrastructure Maintenance, Grid Modernization/Smart Grid, Compounding Constraints, Decarbonization, and the Pace Problem.
The Bottom Line on Traditional Electricity
One only has to look at the pictures featured on the homepage to recognize the changes wrought by Traditional Energy. The taming of electricity ranks right up there with such human species landmarks as fire, the wheel, written language, agriculture, the printing press and modern medicine. Without electricity, and the system for delivering it, including electric utilities, our modern lives are impossible to imagine. Traditional Energy, whose principal goal has been Energy Access, still has a long way to go when you move beyond the developed world. Billions still lack the kind of reliable and affordable electricity enjoyed by the one billion or so people in the developed world.
The challenges for Traditional Electricity are robust. The system can and must be improved to be more resilient to disruption, and to be more accessible across the globe. And, the issues captured in the next two sections, Transitional Energy and Transformative Energy, will undoubtably impact the ability of Traditional Electricity to continue to provide this essential service going forward.