Brattle Group

The bad news – there are big, big challenges looming for the electric utility industry. The good news – agencies and regulators are increasingly aware of these painful truths and, therefore, increasingly willing to discuss solutions. That was the message from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff during a briefing on Capitol Hill this week.

1. Falling load growth. Wellinghoff cited a recent study from the Brattle Group that confirms a 30-year trend of falling growth in energy usage. Today, the average growth is roughly 1% per year, down from the 5-10% common in the middle of the last century. And no, today’s anemic growth is not due just to the recession. It is an unstoppable result of our march to energy efficiency, as evidenced by LED lights, Net Zero buildings, variable speed motors, and more. Keep reading →

U.S. electricity regulators face historic challenges over the next 20 years in helping to guide an estimated $2 trillion in investment to renew or replace aging infrastructure, ensure industry compliance with increasingly stringent environmental regulations, and adopt smart-grid technologies, according to a new report from the sustainability think-tank Ceres.

With the enormous investment by both investor-owned and public utilities, regulators should take a new approach to managing the risks of both the costs of new infrastructure and the time it takes to install it, the report said Thursday. Keep reading →