Utilities for dummies
The current utility business model is standing in the way of a low-carbon future. In this series, David Roberts explains how utilities work and why that needs to change.
Stories in this series:
Solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities
Rooftop solar panels and other distributed-energy tools will radically shake up the power sector, according to an unusually frank report from a utility trade group.
How can we boost distributed solar and save utilities at the same time?
Distributed power threatens to send utilities into a death spiral. Naturally, they would like to slow it down. Is there any way for distributed energy and utilities to get along? Maybe!
Rooftop solar vs. utilities: The San Antonio episode
San Antonio's municipal utility wants to slash the subsidy it provides for rooftop solar power, which would be bad news for the fledgling solar-installation industry.
Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about
Utilities are fighting with solar advocates over an obscure but important policy called "net metering." Here's what's at stake, and why it matters.
Utilities for dummies: How they work and why that needs to change
Utilities are boring and opaque, but central to any clean-energy future. So it's time to demystify them. Here's a plainspoken intro to how they work, and why.
Utilities for dummies, part 2: Why we need competitive electricity markets (with fennec foxes!)
The electricity system is currently set up as a dumb commodity system to provide cheap power. What we need is a smart system to provide energy services. To get there, we have to change utilities.
What’s threatening utilities: Innovation at the edge of the grid (with dik-diks!)
Utilities are threatened by innovation at the "distribution edge" of the grid. Here's a closer look at those innovations and what they mean.
Imagining power utilities for the 21st century (with slow lorises!)
The U.S. electricity system is becoming more complex and democratic. That means utilities will have to change, but they can still prosper. Here's how.
Utilities and distributed energy: Further reading
If you're as fascinated by utilities as we are, you'll want to follow these links to more reports and articles covering the spread of distributed energy and utilities' efforts to adapt.