Grandfather’s Utility Threatened by Renewable Islands of Profits

The Washington Post
April 9, 2014

By Will Wade

Tech­nol­ogy is catch­ing up with Thomas Edison’s elec­tric­ity indus­try, eat­ing away at the util­ity busi­ness model that hasn’t changed much in a century.

Clean energy instal­la­tion will almost triple to 290 gigawatts in 2030, dri­ven by a plunge in the cost of wind and solar power, Bloomberg New Energy Finance fore­cast at its con­fer­ence, which fin­shes in New York today.

Elec­tric­ity from wind and solar is now com­pet­i­tive on price against coal and nat­ural gas in places such as Chile and Texas. That’s forc­ing util­i­ties to rethink how they obtain power as the num­ber of places mul­ti­plies where renew­ables holds their own against fos­sil fuels.

It’s not going to be your grandfather’s energy indus­try,” Nancy Pfund, a man­ag­ing part­ner at the San Francisco-​​based ven­ture cap­i­tal com­pany DBL Part­ners LLC, said at the con­fer­ence. “We’re going to see a par­al­lel evo­lu­tion in energy like we’ve seen in com­put­ing, phones and radio. There really hasn’t been an inno­va­tion cycle in energy in 100 years.”

Read the full arti­cle in The Wash­ing­ton Post.