IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2017 - 112

in my view (continued from p. 116)
with a transition from large synchro-
nous devices to computer-based control
systems and inverters that are increas-
ingly prevalent in new generators, elec-
tronics, lighting, and motors.
Another part that may be even more
disruptive, however, is in the relation-
ship with the end-use customers them-
selves. Power is no longer produced only
at large utility-owned power plants, but
there will still be value in ensuring re-
liability and balancing the needs of all
customers at all times. There will be
many buyers and sellers, but there will
still be value in the tracking, settlement,
and billing for an increasingly diverse

set of products and transactions. And
more than anything, there will be value
in control systems, software, platforms,
and the overall understanding that is
necessary to optimize an increasingly
complex system and make it all work.
This will be a great business, but with a
very different skill set.
Has renewable energy arrived? Are
renewables mainstream? Of course,
and more than that, they have catalyzed
a structural transformation of the en-
ergy industry. Renewables are a major
catalyst and driver of change, and they
are mainstream today in every sense of
the word.

Change is difficult and painful for
many. In the newspaper interview, the
economist was asked if the coal mines
or factories will come back. No was his
answer, as there is no going back to the
other side of a major structural trans-
formation of our economy, as much as
some may wish for it to happen.
The same is true for the electric utility
industry. This is a major structural trans-
formation that goes beyond renewables.
The old days are not coming back, but
new opportunities are bright for utilities
and energy companies that develop the
skill sets and services for the future.
p&e

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Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2017.2755472

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