Large electricity companies are facing massive downsizing by ~2030

An analysis by researchers with the Rocky Mountain Institute, co-founded by well-known energy guru Amory Lovins, and Homer energy, a private sector spin-off from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, finds that electricity from solar photovoltaic systems will replace the majority of grid-provided electricity, likely by as soon as 2030. The impact on large suppliers of electricity and on distribution companies is likely to be enormous.

Among the findings in this 13 page report:

  • solar-plus-battery systems are rapidly becoming cost effective.
  • the grid’s contribution to electricity supply will shrink from 100% today for commercial customers to ~25% by around 2030 to less than 5% by 2050.
  • large kWh defection could undermine revenue for grid investment under the current rate structure and business models.
  • eliminating net metering only delays kWh loss; fixed charges don’t “fix” the problem

The researchers recommend that the electricity industry and its owners/regulators need to act quickly on three fronts:

  • evolved pricing and rate structures;
  • new business models; and
  • new regulatory models.

A brief summary and links to the executive summary and full report (free, but name and email address are required) are available at http://www.rmi.org/electricity_load_defection

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