With the drive to further reduce carbon emissions in the electric power sector, the deployment of renewable energy resources and enabling technologies will continue to grow. Lower cost and better performance of these technologies combined with potential breakthroughs in energy storage create new opportunities and challenges for the grid and the traditional utility business model.
A robust grid is a critical enabler of generation resource diversity, new storage and demand side technologies. Just as the nation’s robust data network serves as a foundation to modern communications and provides an enabling function for various technologies across the communication sector, the nation’s high voltage electric grid serves a similar role with respect to enabling diversity in generation and distributed energy technologies. The electric grid aggregates generation and demand-side technologies and ensures that resources, from whatever source they come from, are delivered to customers in a cost-effective, efficient and reliable manner. Among the technologies certain to further mature and become more cost-effective are energy storage, distributed generation (such as rooftop solar) and micro grids.
We are also monitoring technology development through our association with Braemar Energy Ventures. Braemar is dedicated to identifying, investing in and partnering with developers of new and emerging energy technologies. AEP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Robert Powers, serves on Braemar’s Strategic Advisory Board.