Top Five Issues of 2012 (so far)?

Business and technology issues rank high

Phil Carson | May 13, 2012



From my conversations and coverage, the top issues run a gamut from traditional duties (safety, reliability, affordability)  in the face of change (integrating renewables) to changes (morphing business models) in the face of tradition (regulated monopolies). 

So today I'm just throwing out my notion of the top concerns, along with links to some of our related coverage. I'd love to know your list, because that would help inform our coverage going forward. 

These issues are not ranked by importance, just the order in which they tumbled from my mind. 

Issue # 1: Keeping the lights on while integrating renewables and running pilots around customer engagement and service, AMI, distribution automation and energy storage.

"Customers Will Listen, If Utilities Talk

"Give Customers Real-time Information, too"

"Bulk Energy Storage: A Modest Proposal" 

Issue # 2: Recruiting new staff with diverse but complementary skills such as business/IT and data analytics/power, while retaining key employees long enough for knowledge transfer. 

"Recruiting Utility Talent in New Places?" 

"Is Power Becoming Hip?

"Wanted: Students in the Smart Grid Pipeline" 

Issue # 3: Developing forward-looking business models that take into account the nimbleness and creativity of third parties that can better attract and hold customers' attention. 

"Is `Saving Money' the Right Smart Grid Pitch? 

"Do Regulated Utilities Still Have to Compete?" 

"Centralized Power and Seismic Change?" 

Issue # 4: Dealing with intrusions into their business domain such as microgrids, municipalization and regulatory demands around restoration. 

"Will Cities Defect from IOUs?" 

"Making Electricity Outage Communications Consumer-centric" 

"Utilities Facing a Distributed Generation Future?" 

Issue # 5: Completing ARRA-funded pilot projects and deciding on modest investments that leverage lessons learned without incurring rate increases. 

"Customers Need Energy Data First" 

"The Future of DMS" 

"Focus High on Demand Response and Demand-side Management" 

Phil Carson 
Intelligent Utility Daily


Related Topics


Listed concerns


I think you are right and I think you have the issues in the right order.

Renewables and microgrids

Issues #1 & 4 are related. Microgrids are the best way to keep the lights on when integrating high contributions of renewables.  The traditional model has trouble getting past 20% with some utilities balking at more than 10%.  Our customers are designing systems in all sizes and parts of the world with 50-90% renewables. It is noteworthy that they didn’t mention challenges with the smart grid in their 5 issues, but those are also more easily handled in a microgrid.

Peter Lilienthal