VX2016: The Distributed Energy World: Does This Change Everything?

Jim Kelly, Senior Vice President (retired), Southern California Edison

Panel (In Formation):
Pedro Pizarro, President, Southern California Edison
Marcie Edwards, General Manager, LADWP
Andrew McAllister, Commissioner, California Energy Commission

We are told in the press, almost daily, that the world of energy has changed in remarkable ways in the last few years. Solar PV has continued to decline in price and increase in efficiency. Home energy storage has become, arguably, a viable alternative for many. A new report by the Rocky Mountain Institute finds that the most economic scenario for electricity customers is to install combination solar-plus-battery systems, but remain on the grid.  According to the report, the solar-plus-battery systems will eventually provide the majority of customers’ electricity. In a “decoupled” regulatory model like the one we employ in California - where the investor-owned utilities’ revenues are not dependent on the quantity of product sold - the dynamics get even more complex and counter-intuitive. Add into this the notion that some have advanced that control of the utility distribution system should increasingly be handled not by the utilities, but by some independent overseer. So how do we separate the truth from the hyperbole? Will we all be “off the grid” in a few years? Are there new and even more disruptive technologies on the horizon? Do utilities have a new and very different business model in mind? Who are the winners and losers? 


The Distributed Energy World