Program on Technology Innovation: Electric Power Research Institute
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 19:17:00 GMT
Topic: General

Program on Technology Innovation: Electric Power Research Institute — Electric Power Industry Technology ScenariosProduct Number: 1013016 Date, Published: 21-DEC-05, Interim Report - Available On-line

This report describes the development of a set of scenarios for the future of the U.S. power industry. The scenarios were developed to provide a basis for strategic technology planning. The scenario approach was adopted in this initiative because scenarios provide insight on quantitative assessments and functional specifications of technologies. In contrast, standard planning tools—including the Electricity Technology Roadmap currently used at EPRI—are subject to the uncertainties in key driving factors, such as the economy, the environment, technology advances, and regulatory policies.

This report will benefit utility executives and planners, industrial and commercial electricity consumers, equipment suppliers, regulators, technology developers, national laboratory researchers, and academics. These stakeholders will benefit from a greater understanding of the issues and opportunities facing the electricity industry. The scenarios will facilitate communications among these groups and will provide a basis for collaboration among stakeholders to develop key technology opportunities.


The project team's goals were to:
•document the process used to develop the scenarios,
•provide a detailed description of each scenario,
•identify the technology portfolio of each scenario, and
•determine the challenges and capability gaps that prevent the industry from achieving needed technology breakthroughs.

Users of the report will gain an improved understanding of the economic and environmental factors that are likely to shape the structure of the industry and the changing business models of market entrants. Users also will be able to develop their own scenarios to address their individual needs and conduct sensitivity studies showing how varying key parameters can influence the outcomes of these analyses. This type of analysis is becoming increasingly valuable as the industries expand and as entrants with different perspectives evolve their own strategies. The report identifies a set of ten specific technology opportunities that emerged from workshops that were part of the scenario process. The report describes these opportunities at a high level. Follow-on work is planned to define a detailed strategy for developing the technologies.

Application, Value and Use
Anticipated future developments include periodic revisiting of the issues raised in the scenario study and revising/updating the scenarios to reflect changes in the industry and externalities. Thus, the scenario study will be an evergreen document that will maintain its relevance, even as the external world changes dramatically.

EPRI Perspective
Scenario planning is a valuable tool for describing and analyzing possible future changes in the power industry. Its value derives from the ability to shape arguments and conclusions and to define alternative environments in which decisions can be modeled and played out. For the special case of defining research initiatives, scenario analysis can allow decision-makers to consider strategic adjustments in advance of changing conditions in uncertain environments. This capability is particularly valuable in the case of the power industry because of the rapid evolution of technology for the generation, transmission, distribution, and end uses of electricity. As change accelerates, uncertainty grows. Here, scenarios come into their own as a means of prioritizing alternate technologies and developing a portfolio of technologies.

Program 06TTI501.0 Technology Innovation (Long-term R&D)

Technology strategy
Energy efficiency
Electricity generation
Natural gas
Nuclear power
Electricity transmission and distribution
Energy storage
Distributed generation
End-use technologies

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Source: Electric Power Industry Technology Scenarios

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