"Powerful trends in technology, policy environments, financing, and business models are driving change in power sectors globally," opens a report from 21st Century Power Partnership.
The report - Power Systems of the Future - published in February 2015 summarizes key forces driving transformation in the power sector around the world, and presents a framework for evaluating decisions regarding extent and pace of change, and defines pathways for transformation.
The abstract of the report states: "The question is no longer whether power systems will be transformed, but how these transformations will occur."
Three approaches to power sector change
The paper, compiled by 21st Century Power Partnership, a multilateral effort of the Clean Enegry Ministerial, a global forum for promoting clean energy based on common interests of participating governments, goes on to outline three approaches to policy and technology decision-making that can guide transformations: adaptive, reconstructive, and evolutionary.
In the adaptive pathway, vertically-integrated utilities remain in a recognizable form, but evolve to prioritize delivery of value instead of minimizing costs.
Under the reconstructive pathway, new power market restructuring efforts are initiated, incorporating lessons learned from the past 20 years, including design features to facilitate clean energy integration and system optimization. Hindsight is 20/20—this reconstructive pathway brings hindsight to bear on restructuring and reform.
The third approach is "evolutionary with distribution system operators poised to innovate in order to drive clean generation deployment and power system flexibility".
The report states: "In this evolutionary pathway, regulatory and policy frameworks give clear signals to these DSOs, empowering them as the centerpiece for orchestrating distributed energy resources and low-voltage market functioning."
For the full report, see Power Systems of the Future: A 21st Century Power Partnership Thought Leadership Report