How Can Utilities Survive Energy Demand Disruption?

Accenture’s Digitally Enabled Grid program – 2014 edition

[Fuel Fix] Two trends in the power sector — the expansion of distributed generation and advances in energy efficiency — could cost U.S. utilities up to $48 billion annually by 2025, according to a new report.

The study by the consulting firm Accenture was based on models that examined improvements in solar panels, electricity storage and other trends that will impact the bottom lines of U.S. utility companies.

Distributed generation refers to power generators – much smaller than typical power plants – installed at or near the sites they serve. They often use renewable resources like solar or wind power and are posing a conundrum for traditional utilities because they allow customers to handle large portions of their power consumption internally.

An Accenture survey found that 61 percent of utility executives expect significant or moderate revenue reductions due to distributed generation technology — up from 43 percent a year ago.

Still, Accenture downplayed the threat of the so-called utility “death spiral,” which refers to the idea that distributed generation could cause the end of traditional utilities…


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