Technology continues to change the way energy is generated, delivered and consumed. Historically, homes and businesses consumed electricity produced and delivered by utilities through generation, transmission and distribution systems. Transformations to this simple model are now creating challenges and opportunities for utilities and electricity consumers:
- Utilities are moving from dispatchable, fossil-fueled generation toward intermittent, renewable energy sources. The result will be a plentiful supply of energy when wind and solar generation are available and supply constraints when they are not. This will lead to low cost when energy is plentiful and higher cost when there are constraints.
- At the same time, new metering, communication and control technology will enable retail electric rates to reflect these varying costs, driving greater adoption of consumer technologies (e.g., smart thermostats and appliances) that help customers manage their costs by shifting energy use to better align with renewable energy availability.
- As distributed solar and storage costs decline, the opportunity for residential and commercial customers to host renewable energy and storage capacity will rise.
- Improvements to existing electric vehicle technology and heating technology (e.g., heat pumps) will enable electricity to replace gasoline, diesel and natural gas. Properly managed and integrated, this will lead to better use of renewable generation and existing transmission and distribution systems.
To realize these opportunities, Platte River and its owner communities must coordinate:
The way we plan for and evaluate DER technologies
Operational approaches for making DERs a reliable and cost-effective part of the regional electric system
The development and implementation of programs to support DER adoption
The DER strategy committee will work to develop a roadmap that is flexible to accommodate the needs of the owner communities and the varying pace of technological advancements in the coming years while also ensuring that we can maintain an electric system that is reliable, financially sustainable and environmentally responsible.