Completing the Electric Power Value Chain with ICT



The existing electric power system is largely a legacy from the 20th Century. It has yet to realize much of its potential value due to outmoded business models and lack of investment in ICT. Much of the world lacks competitive retail markets, and many areas still lack competitive wholesale markets. In areas with competitive retail markets, including much of Europe, retailers do not actually purchase the energy their customer use, and they have little incentive to manage customer consumption patterns to minimize cost. On the wholesale side, reliability concerns coupled with inability to manage consumption patterns leads to overinvestment in supply resources. Customer-owned supply resources, such as solar arrays, are poorly managed and undervalued.

This talk will examine the overall value chain for the electric power industry and its customer base, identify a number of gaps and inefficiencies, and show how research, invention, and investment in new ICT infrastructure could add considerable value. Examples include near-real-time accounting at the retail level, replacing expensive balancing and reserve resources with a variety of energy-storage capacities in the retail space, design and evaluation of tariffs, and maximizing customer value under different tariff terms.